While eight bus drivers have tested positive for COVID-19 as of 30 July, bus operations are in place as usual, according to the Land Transport Authority (LTA).
LTA told The Straits Times (ST) in response to queries that fewer than one per cent of the 9,500 bus drivers are subjected to measures such as quarantine and stay-home notices (SHNs).
The drivers in quarantine and SHNs had been in contact with confirmed cases, ST reported.
LTA, however, did not elaborate on the exact number of drivers who have been quarantined. The Authority also did not state if the cases were linked to one another.
LTA noted that over 99 per cent of bus drivers have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
While getting vaccinated does not prevent an individual from catching COVID-19 and will instead reduce the severity of symptoms experienced in the event that a vaccinated person gets infected with the virus, commenters on ST’s Facebook post on the issue asked why bus drivers are not promptly getting their second jabs, given the obvious risks at their job.
“(T)hese frontline workers will encounter at least 70% of the whole population daily. Bus services will be impacted if clusters emerge from any bus terminal/depot,” one user said.
One commenter on ST’s Facebook post on the issue questioned why the public was only informed on Wednesday when the infection was confirmed on 30 July.
One commenter suggested LTA to install ionisers in buses “to reduce viral load” inside the cabins.
“The air change caused by door opening is not sufficient. A lab-based proper viral load count simulating bus operations should be conducted,” they said.
Earlier in January this year, LTA announced that it would be working with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and firms to progressively offer vaccinations against COVID-19 to approximately 80,000 land transport workers.
LTA said on 25 January that the first batch of land transport workers — around 12,000 — to be vaccinated included employees of bus and train operators.
Active taxi and private hire car (PHC) drivers were also to be vaccinated under the initiative.
Vaccinations have already been offered to drivers who are involved in supporting Stay Home Notice (SHN) ground operations, said LTA on 25 January.
The Authority added that it was working with MOH and taxi and PHC operators to offer vaccinations to the remaining drivers.
“Our land transport workers have been working tirelessly since the onset of COVID-19 to keep our essential transport services running,” said Ng Lang, LTA’s chief executive officer.