Public transport preventive measures will slow down Covid-19 – Mbalula

Transport Minister Fikile Mbabula. Picture: Twitter
Transport Minister Fikile Mbabula. Picture: Twitter

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula says preventive measures and random screenings will be done at train stations and taxi ranks to help fight the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

This came after President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday night declared the latest coronavirus pandemic a national disaster as infections continue to rise.

Ramaphosa advised against mass meetings of more than 100 people.

Following the announcement on Sunday night, One South Africa leader Mmusi Maimane took to Twitter to ask Mbalula how the transport department would ensure the safety of taxi commuters.

“Mr Fix, can you provide us with critical clarity around trains and taxi ranks? As you are aware, Bree taxi rank in Johannesburg, for example, will have hundreds of people in the peak traffic periods. The same is true of the train stations and the trains,” asked Maimane.

In response, during the inter-ministerial media briefing on Monday, Mbalula said the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) trains would undergo sanitisation processes and that public transport users would be urged to practice social distancing.

“Random screenings will be done at all taxi ranks and in trains,” he said.

For Mbalula this was one of the ways to combat Covid-19.

Ramaphosa also cautioned against using public transport to help manage the spread of the virus.

With the vast majority of commuters using public transport, Johannesburg’s Bree and Noord taxi ranks were a cause for concern due to the large number of people using public transport at these places.

“We will implement an aggressive information drive to create awareness and promote preventive measure. Taxi and bus operators must become ambassadors whose task it is to disseminate information,” said Mbalula.

To fight the pandemic spreading on trains and taxis, Mbalula suggested that commuters be provided with hand sanitiser.

He said that surfaces on trains and taxis would be sanitised after every trip.

This will include the intensive cleaning of key points, major stations and practical screening facilities that would target train stations including Park Station in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria and Bloemfontein stations.

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