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(Updated) Wuhan Virus: On cleaning and disinfecting our public transport

By February 1, 2020Current

TL;DR – We owe some people our gratitude for their hard work and dedication.

Have you subscribed to Gov.sg Whatsapp channel? They have been quite active in updating citizens with the latest news and also tips on how to keep safe. Go sign up if you haven’t!

One of their latest updates today (9 Feb) is on Enhanced transport measures, so I thought I’ll update this article to include the measures. (Updates are in blue!)

How are public transport facilities being kept clean? 
All transport operators have stepped up measures to ensure good public hygiene for Singaporeans:
✔ More cleaning and disinfecting of facilities, especially high-contact points like seats and handrails
✔ Staff have started taking temperature regularly and practise good personal hygiene

Is it safe to take public transport?
Yes. The risk of nCoV infection from transient contact, such as on public transport or public places, is low.

Is it safe to take taxis or private-hire cars?
Yes, they have been:
✔ Ramping up cleaning efforts
✔ Winding down windows for ventilation after trips

How can I play a part?
✔ Wash hands often with soap
✔ Avoid touching face
✔ Wear a mask if sick or recovering from illness
✔ Cover your mouth with tissue paper when sneezing or coughing. Dispose used tissue paper immediately

For more information: go.gov.sg/ncov-cleanspaces

 

So, we now have 1640 cases, and we saw our first confirmed case of a Singaporean. (Updated 9 Feb)

According to our Ministry of Health,

“The 15th case is a 47 year-old female Singapore Citizen who travelled to Wuhan with her family. She was one of the Singaporeans evacuated from Wuhan on 30 January, and arrived in Singapore on the same day. She was asymptomatic when she boarded the flight. Upon arrival at Changi Airport, she was found to have a fever during medical screening, and was conveyed to NCID. She was tested positive for Wuhan coronavirus infection on 31 January at about 2pm. She is currently warded in an isolation room at NCID.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong visited the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) on Friday to lend support and encouragement to the medical workers there.

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PM Lee also said in an earlier Facebook post,

“We can all play a part to help make a bad situation better: by practising good personal hygiene, being socially responsible, taking in stride the inconvenience of unexpected disruptions, or expressing appreciation to medical staff or cleaners.”

And it’s not just the medical staff or cleaners, there are many more frontline workers and even workers who have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that public spaces or high traffic places are cleaned and disinfected.

Like the workers in the public transport sector. Many of us Singaporeans rely on the public transport to ferry us to work, to school and back home to our loved ones. With such high traffic volume and close proximity, how are the transport companies keeping up?

Let’s have a look.

SMRT has shared  a video on their Facebook page to let the public know that they are “ramping up our cleaning regime of high commuter touch points to keep our trains, buses and taxis clean”.

Yeps, they clean with disinfectants, so commuters can enjoy clean, comfortable rides.

 

As for SBS Transit, they have increased the frequency of cleaning for their premises and vehicles.

At the bus interchanges, high commuter touch points such as queue rails, seats, passenger service centre counters as well as taps, door knobs, flush buttons in the toilets will be cleaned and wiped down with disinfectants about once every two hours.

At the MRT/LRT stations, public surface areas will be cleaned at least thrice a day with disinfectants. The areas include handrails, bench seats, lift buttons, fare gates, ticketing machines, locality maps, toilet door handles and taps.

In addition to the usual end of day cleaning, bus interiors will undergo an additional disinfection every week.

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Train interiors will be cleaned and disinfected daily during engineering hours for areas such as the grab poles, overhead handles, seats, windows, door panels and train floors.

The enhanced cleaning regime is in addition to precautionary measures SBS Transit has put in place to safeguard the health of passengers and employees. These are also in line with the latest guidelines stipulated by the Authorities.

Here, you can see the original Facebook post here.

What about the other two newer players in the public transport scene, Go-Ahead and Tower Transit?

I had a look at their Facebook pages and not bad, it looks like they too had stepped up on the cleaning and disinfecting to ensure that commuters can enjoy cleaner, safer rides.

For Go-Ahead Singapore, extra measures include stepping up on cleaning duties and performing sterilisation on frequently touched surfaces more regularly.

Hand sanitisers are provided at all work areas including our interchanges and terminals. Their staff are also reminded to maintain a good level of personal hygiene.

 

Last but not least, Tower Transit has also activated the DORSCON yellow cleaning regime in view of the Wuhan virus.

This means that they have started to enhance their bus cleaning regime to include sterilisation using a non-toxic, high-level disinfectant on buses, at interchange premises and toilets throughout the day.

According to a post on their Facebook page, the procedure involves sterilisation of all surfaces, hand rails and seats using cloths and latex gloves which will be disposed of after each clean.

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So the next time you see one of these unsung heroes, thank them!

In the meantime, wash your hands, wash your hands and wash your hands! Keep your hands off your face and stay safe!

 

 

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Gabrielle Teo

Author Gabrielle Teo

I read lots, and I also spend an indecent amount of time trying to get my mostly unpopular opinions published. Oh, I argue a lot with fellow Singaporeans who complain incessantly about Singapore too.

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