What do experts from around the world advise when traveling by public transport during the pandemic?

Public transport is one of the spaces where governments around the world have set their sights on during the coronavirus pandemic. It is that in a train, bus or subway the chances of getting infected seem to be more because it is a closed place, in addition to allowing the transfer of people and, therefore, the virus.

The BBC portal made a note in this regard, based on different advice made by experts from around the world in recent months. "Of course, there are essential things you must do: wear a mask, avoid rush hours if you can, and follow physical distance directions at stations and on board. Following local public health advice is the most important thing and will significantly reduce your risk. "says the note.

"But there are also less obvious measures that are worth knowing. Insights from research on transportation and passenger psychology can provide clues, as well as signal changes in the way we will move in the coming months," he adds.

In this sense, he points out: "With a respiratory disease like COVID-19, the more people breathe, cough and speak in the same air as you in a confined space, the more chances there are of being infected by the virus. If you can ride a bicycle walking or scooter outside to work, that's your best option as there is more room to keep your distance from others. "

In another passage he points out that cars are also safer, as long as he limits himself to traveling with his own. "But if everyone drives it will lead to a 'tragedy of the commons' effect of more traffic and higher environmental costs, so it is difficult to recommend it as a socially responsible option," they clarify.

On the other hand, they indicate that "when evaluating the chosen form of transport, it is worth considering how much is spoken inside and how loudly". And they add in this regard: "Noisy environments, where people must bend down and shout to be heard, present a greater risk than quieter spaces."

In another passage they cite a Chinese study in relation to the distance between passengers on public transport and, on it, they point out: "Sitting in the same row, especially adjacent, carried the greatest risk in this particular environment. It seems that the backs between the rows on the type of train they saw, a Chinese high-speed intercity train, may have provided a kind of barrier. "

"People sitting in the same queue on a commute may also have needed to cross over closely to go to the bathroom or get a soda. More importantly, however, the researchers could not rule out that transmission in the queues was older because the people who sit next to them are more likely to be family and friends, who are already in close contact, "they add.

Regarding the latter, they also noted: "Longer trips, perhaps unsurprisingly, increased the risk, even for those who were sitting a couple of rows away. After two hours, a distance of less than 2 5 meters without a mask was insufficient to prevent transmission, the researchers found. However, somewhat reassuringly, using the same seat previously occupied by a coronavirus carrier did not significantly increase the risk of contracting the virus. "

Finally, a study on the behavior of subway passengers in New York "suggests that people who are standing are more likely to hold onto vertical poles than other handholds, such as straps and ball-and-spring devices."

"It may be worth knowing if you want to avoid touching heavily handled surfaces. Although it is believed that the virus is transmitted primarily through the fine mist of aerosols and droplets we produce when we speak, breathe and cough, it can also be spread when we touch surfaces. that have been contaminated with the virus and then we put our fingers near our body, mouth or nose ", marks the BBC.

"The researchers behind the subway study also found that New Yorkers who chose to stand were more likely to stay closer to the doors than anywhere else in the car, due to the proximity to the exit, the partitions to lean on, and the opportunity to avoid eye contact with those who were seated. passengers. Therefore, staying by the doors can have mixed benefits: it can be one of the best ventilated spaces, but also the most crowded, "he closes.

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