Passengers sit in a fully loaded taxi ready to leave the Bloed Street taxi rank. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
Passengers sit in a fully loaded taxi ready to leave the Bloed Street taxi rank. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Covid-19 in SA: Here's how you can protect yourself - and others - when using a taxi

By IOL Reporter Time of article published Jul 20, 2020

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Durban - Public transport commuters are urged to also take responsibility for their safety and wellbeing as the country continues to fight against Covid-19. With taxis allowed to operate at 100% capacity, the government has placed the onus of the industry to ensure that they follow strict Covid-19 safety protocol. 

However, according to managing director of Industroclean, Emma Corder, the only way to keep the coronavirus infection rates under control is if both operators and commuters make the required changes to their travel and commuting behaviour.

Corder said the reality is that public transport is a high-risk environment because of the number of people in a confined space with limited ventilation. 

“There is also little if any access control to identify potentially sick commuters as well as a variety of common surfaces to touch such as handrails and doorknobs,” she said. 

Corder said wearing a mask is a critical way to protect oneself and others. She added that it is equally important to wear the mask correctly. 

“Masks block droplets from your sneezes and coughs and minimises the likelihood of you touching your face and either spreading or coming into contact with the virus from other people,” she said. 

Eating requires removing the mask in a high-risk situation, so change habits and eat and drink before or after the ride. 

“It will benefit others just as much as it helps you stay safe and virus free,” she added.

Secondly, it’s important that commuters sanitise their hands before and after each trip. 

“Most transport operators provide hand sanitisers but having your own on hand is always advised. Carrying your own hand sanitiser will not only keep you safe but also provide peace of mind during your commute.  It is important that the sanitisers contain 70% alcohol,” she said.

She offered the following tips for public transport operators to keep in mind: 

  • First a good deep cleaning and disinfection with a hospital grade disinfectant is advised. It is important that all vehicles be cleaned both in and outside. They need to be wiped down on the inside after both the morning and afternoon peak-hour periods, on a daily basis.
  • Regularly deep clean all seats, rails and windowpanes in public service vehicles washing down surfaces with soap and water and disinfect them with a hospital grade disinfectant.
  • For normal cleaning, using the spray and wipe method is effective and disinfectants should be freshly prepared and National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) registered.
  • Hand washing facilities and alcohol-based sanitisers should be placed at strategic points such as security check points, as well as entrances of public transport interchanges and public toilets.
  • Review the stock and availability of essential protection and cleaning equipment and supplies and plan their distribution and refill beforehand.

During travel: 

  • All individuals accessing a taxi, bus or train must undergo temperature screening.
  • Make sure all commuters sanitize their hands before boarding.
  • All commuters must wear a mask at all times.
  • Provide adequate waste management facilities (waste bins and bin-liners).
  • Avoid overcrowding and body contact. Keep a distance from each other. Owners and operators of public transport vehicles are advised to find more innovative ways to avoid overcrowding.
  • Ensure good ventilation and respiratory hygiene in all public transport vehicles.
  • AVOID handshakes at all times.

"We all have to remain vigilant as the number of coronavirus infections continue to rise. By following these simple daily guidelines we can all work together to keep the infection number as low as possible," she said. 

IOL

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