Transport officials get strict on virus prevention

Yang Meiping
New measures to disinfect Metro stations, trains, buses and taxis have been introduced as people return to Shanghai. 
Yang Meiping

Shanghai has launched strict measures on its public transportation system to prevent the spread of coronavirus, authorities told a news conference on Monday morning.

Yang Xiaoxi, deputy director of the city’s transport commission, said all Metro trains were previously disinfected once every day, but now they go through disinfection every time they return to the depot after peak hours. Frequency of disinfection in Metro stations has also been increased to at least four times every day and places frequently touched by passengers, such as handrails, are disinfected once an hour. New ventilation systems have been put into use with vent lines disinfected twice a week.

"If a passenger suddenly falls sick, or is suspected or diagnosed with infection, the whole station will be thoroughly disinfected," he said.

By Monday morning, 248 Metro stations had been equipped with temperature check facilities, including some with infrared devices which can check passengers' temperatures without contact. Passengers who do not wear masks or refuse to have their temperatures checked will be rejected from entering.

The city's Metro system has seen a daily average of about 800,000 passengers recently, compared to about 10 million per day on normal workdays last year. Yang explained that although some enterprises have already resumed work, some employees are in 14-day quarantine after returning while others are allowed to work from home. Meanwhile, another 1 million people use road transport vehicles.

All buses are disinfected at least once every day, while those departing from airports and railway stations are disinfected at least twice a day. About 56 popular bus lines, such as Route 71, are disinfected three times a day.

“We will pilot using large electric sprayers to spray disinfectant in some buses soon,” Yang said.

Ninty-nine bus stations, involving 370 bus lines, have set up temperature checkpoints, and all passengers are also required to wear masks when boarding.

Yang also said that taxis are disinfected once at their companies every day, while each car has been equipped with disinfectant spray and taxi drivers are asked to disinfect their cars three times per day. Drivers also have to check their temperatures every day and those with a fever or cough would be suspended from work immediately and transferred to hospital for further examination.

Yang said Shanghai’s two airports have received and seen off a total of 16,000 flights involving more than 1.31 million passengers since the city began its efforts to curb the novel coronavirus outbreak. Railway stations in Shanghai received more than 5 million people and sent away nearly 7.5 million between January 10 and February 9.

He stressed repeatedly during the press conference that people without residence or work in Shanghai are being persuaded to return to their hometowns and delay their visits to Shanghai. About 800 vehicles have been rejected from entering the city, he said.

He said that traffic authorities will enhance management on airports, railways, roads, ports and waterways to prevent epidemic spread. Communications authorities will further promote health registration application among people entering Shanghai and send out messages which dissuade people without residency or work from entering the city.

Authorities will continue to encourage commuters to avoid peak hours.

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