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Risk of Transmission of COVID-19 on Trains and Prevention

Since the beginning of the pandemic, health experts have warned about the high risk of transmission of COVID-19 on trains, buses and other public transportation. Overcrowding of passengers, length of travel time, and poor air circulation in confined spaces can increase the risk of virus transmission.

How big is the risk of transmission and how can you prevent it?

Risk of COVID-19 Transmission in Cars

A recent study shows the risk of transmission of COVID-19 on a train is highly dependent on the closeness of the position of passengers with infected people. The closer, the higher the risk of transmission. Conversely, the further away, the risk is relatively low.

The study involved thousands of passengers traveling by fast train in China. The researchers found that the rate of transmission to passengers who were adjacent to people infected with COVID -19 was around 3.5%.

Meanwhile, passengers in the front or rear seats have an average of 1.5% chance of contracting COVID-19. The risk of transmission on this train is 10 times lower for passengers who sit one or two seats apart from COVID-19 patients.

In fact, the researchers found that only 0.075% of passengers who used seats previously occupied by COVID-19 patients could contract the virus.

In addition to the sitting position, the length of time or frequency of contact with COVID-19 patients is also very important. The risk of being infected will increase by 1.3% per hour for passengers sitting next to each other and 0.15% for other passengers.

Researchers believe that passengers sitting next to each other are more susceptible to infection because of the higher likelihood of making physical contact or meeting face to face.

Reducing the risk of transmitting COVID-19 on public transportation

The SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 is transmitted through droplets of an infected person when he coughs, sneezes, or talks. Later researchers also found that droplets of COVID-19 patients can be transmitted through the air ( airborne ) under certain conditions.

COVID-19 can also be transmitted through touching surfaces that have been contaminated with the corona virus and then touching the eyes, nose or mouth without washing hands first.

But in recent weeks, the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revised its latest guidelines for preventing the transmission of COVID-19. The guidelines state that the transmission of COVID-19 does not easily occur through touching surfaces such as poles in train cars or chairs.

Even so, the possibility of this transmission path should not be ignored, especially the risk of transmission of the virus in crowded public transportation. We do not know whether or not passengers who have been infected with COVID-19 have the potential to transmit the virus.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic entered many countries, health experts have warned about the high risk of transmission on trains and other public transportation. Especially the mode of transportation that is often crowded with passengers.

After the lockdown was relaxed, the government even included a suggestion for companies to provide a shuttle facility for employees in the New Normal health protocol guidelines for offices.

The main prevention of COVID-19 transmission is physical distancing or keeping a safe distance. In its application in public transportation means reducing the density of the number of passengers. In addition, ventilation or air circulation in public vehicles must be functioning properly and cleaning of the facilities must be carried out regularly.

Meanwhile, from the passenger side, make sure you use a mask, keep your distance, and make sure you don't touch your face with dirty hands.

The risk of transmitting COVID-19 on trains and other public transportation cannot be eliminated but can be slightly reduced. Jakarta can follow other cities such as Seoul, Berlin, and Tokyo, where public transportation passenger activity has begun to recover but there has been no spike in new cases.