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Are AC trains safe to travel in during COVID?

After almost one and a half month, people who wanted to return to their hometowns could breathe a sigh of relief. Because finally, with the gradual resumption of passenger train services, those stuck in various parts of India can finally return home.

"You cannot prevent the spread of coronavirus in the air-conditioned compartments. As it is a closed compartment and a long journey from the possibility of coronavirus spread is higher," said Dr. Rohan Sequeira, consultant general medicine at Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre, in a conversation with Free Press Journal.

Are AC trains safe to travel in during Covid?

While talking about how air-conditioned compartment spread viruses Dr. Sequeira said: "The air-conditioned cabin or spaces have a concept called re-circulation of air. It has been found, not only during coronavirus outbreaks but in any type of infectious disease, most of these infectious viruses get stuck in AC filters. Therefore, there must be an appropriate protocol for cleaning AC filters. "

He also said that social distancing must be maintained by keeping a vacant seat among each passenger. "Since social distancing is mandatory to stop the spread of coronavirus, I think the railways should follow a policy where they keep a vacant seat between passengers, so at least a certain social distancing is maintained. Also, there should be a severe fine for people who find themselves without wearing Mask on the train, otherwise, people will not take the mask seriously."

But, senior family physician, Dr. K R Dhebri says it’s a good move. "In this hot and humid climate, I feel it is a good idea to have AC trains.”

Sure, running the trains is a good start, but what about sick people without symptoms who can also travel with others? “Asymptomatic patients are a big problem as there are a lot of people who are asymptomatic. If a person does not have symptoms of COVID-19, but he wears a mask at all times and follows the rules of social distance, such a  person is less likely to be infected with the virus. Even in Mumbai, about 80% of people are sick without symptoms and do not necessarily spread the virus.

Dr. Sequeira also suggests issuing a corona certificate to passengers who are traveling in these trains. "All people traveling on the train must obtain a Corona Certificate (fit to travel certificate) like in the airlines, but considering the volume of people traveling by train will be very difficult. But if the goal is to get people home safely, the government should issue the corona certificate to these passengers only then they will get a ticket. "

He also suggests that people who traveled on these trains should receive the mandatory 14-day quarantine once they reach their destination.


Also Read: India lockdown 4.0 guidelines | What’s allowed and what’s not?

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