Paranoid or responsible? Driver puts up barrier in car to keep virus at bay

PHOTO: Reddit/Pesantkie

As healthcare workers battle the coronavirus on the frontline, another group of people — public transport workers — is also at higher risk of getting infected.

A photo shared on Reddit Singapore on Wednesday (Feb 12) depicts a driver who wrapped a clear plastic sheet around his seat, separating him from his passengers. It is unclear if the picture was taken here.

A sign plastered behind the driver's seat read: "Please wear mask protect yourself and other. Emerge ncy crisis. Coron a virus (sic)".

In another notice, passengers are shown the precautions they can take, such as putting on a mask if they're feeling unwell.

While it is uncertain whether the barrier will actually help cut down the driver's risk of infection, some netizens have praised his sense of responsibility while a few others questioned if the man was paranoid.

But the driver's worries are not unfounded.

Just last week, a cabby and two private-hire drivers, who had no recent travel history to China, were infected by the coronavirus.

As the number of locally transmitted cases grows, the Land Transport Authority (LTA), as well as taxi and ride-hailing operators, have rolled out measures to protect both drivers and passengers.

On Feb 10, LTA announced that 300,000 masks will be given out to cabbies and private hire car drivers. Eight temperature-taking stations have also been set up at taxi operators' premises, with more to come in other locations.

Besides handing out disinfectants and hand sanitisers to drivers to keep their rides clean, transport service operators have also advised them to wind down the windows if their passengers show flu-like symptoms, as well as clean and ventilate their vehicles more frequently.

Some drivers, however, avoided ferrying passengers to and from hospitals in a move that has troubled local healthcare workers. It got to the point that ride-hailing service Grab launched a new service dedicated to their commute.

For the latest updates on the coronavirus virus, visit here.

lamminlee@asiaone.com

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