When it comes to traveling with others on public transit, the risk of contracting the coronavirus depends on a variety of factors, but there are ways to minimize it.
The main way that the virus spreads is through droplets people spray when they talk, cough or sneeze. That means the best way to reduce the spread of infection on public transit and elsewhere is to wear a mask and stay away 2 meters (about 6 feet) from others, experts say.
Transit systems around the world are requiring riders to wear masks and encouraging people to socially distance. Compliance could vary, especially as ridership levels start rebounding and metros and buses get more crowded. In Turkey, masks are currently mandatory. But there are other steps you can take to make trips less risky.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests traveling during non-peak hours, avoiding crowded spots in stations and stops, and skipping rows between seats when possible.
Mass transit in Turkey is also still required to admit only a certain number of passengers so there is sufficient space for proper social distancing, though this has been troublesome to stick to in large metropolises such as Istanbul. Rush hours have been reminiscent of pre-pandemic times, forcing some companies to continue remote working or adopt rotating shifts.
Buses have also turned their AC units off and instead have been required to open windows to ensure the circulation of fresh air and prevent the spread of the virus in the vehicle.
Surfaces are also believed to pose a risk, though to a lesser degree, and transit systems are employing a variety of cleaning techniques. Moscow and Shanghai have experimented with germ-killing ultraviolet light, and Hong Kong has deployed a robot that sprays hydrogen peroxide. In New York and Istanbul, metros and subways are shut down overnight for cleaning and disinfecting.
Even so, the CDC says to avoid touching surfaces such as turnstiles and handrails if you can. Having some hand sanitizer on you to disinfect after touching said places can also further minimize your risk.
Though much remains unknown about the virus and how it spreads, experts note there have not yet been any major outbreaks linked to public transportation systems.
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