The Ministry of Health (MOH) stated on Thursday (18 June) that 14 public bus or train staff members have been infected with the COVID-19 virus, adding that none of them has passed the virus to commuters.
Speaking to The Straits Times, the MOH said that there is “no evidence” suggesting that the virus transmission occurred from a commute on public transport, either involving public transport staff or commuters.
“In particular, MOH’s investigations have also not established any epidemiological links between the 14 COVID-19 community cases who are public bus and train staff, and the passengers they may have been in transient contact with,” it added.
Since the country commenced Phase One on 2 June, public transport ridership during the morning peak hours has increased. Ridership is expected to spike, following the beginning of Phase Two today (19 June).
The MOH, however, noted that the risk of transmission from encounters involving transient contact, such as on public transport, remains low.
“The risk of getting infected with COVID-19 is highest in an individual who has had close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case in work, social or household settings,” said the MOH’s spokesperson.
Meanwhile, commuters are advised to wear masks at all times and refrain from talking during their commute. The Ministry explained that talking would increase the “expulsion of respiratory droplets”, which are a form of the virus transmission.
“As transmission of COVID-19 can also occur through surface contact, commuters should maintain good personal hygiene such as cleaning their hands regularly,” it asserted.
The MOH also urged commuters to use the contact tracing app – TraceTogether app – which can help to identify the sources of infection and potential clusters of COVID-19 cases.
On the other hand, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) reassured that MRT stations and bus interchanges are cleaned at least once in every two hours.
“Additional emphasis is placed on sanitising high human contact points like handrails, lift buttons, grab poles and seats,” said the LTA.