To determine the risk of the spread of COVID-19 on trains, scientists analyzed travel data from more than 2,300 patients with coronavirus disease and more than 72 thousand people who had contact with them, from mid-December 2019 to early March 2020. The time spent by passengers and their relative position on the train was taken into account.
It turned out that in general, the risk of catching COVID-19 from a sick passenger at a distance of three rows and five seats from him ranges from 0 to 10.3%. As might be expected, those sitting in the same row as a person with COVID-19 (1.5%) or in the next seat (3.5%) are at the highest risk of infection.
The risk of contracting coronavirus increases with the increase in the time spent on a train with sick passengers – on average by 0.15% for each hour of travel, and for passengers in the next seat, this figure is up to 1.3%.
The researchers conclude that COVID-19 has a high risk of transmission among train passengers, but it differs greatly depending on the travel time and where the passengers stay on the train. Therefore, they advise temporarily limiting train times and seating passengers across multiple seats, as well as using personal hygiene products to reduce the threat of COVID-19.
Is this the only such study?
Not. Earlier we talked about the Japanese supercomputer Fugaku, which was recognized as the fastest in the world. He was engaged in modeling situations for the spread of coronavirus in transport in order to determine how to reduce the risks of infection in it. In early July, with his help, scientists have establishedthat to reduce the risk of COVID-19 on commuter rail trains, it is worth limiting the number of passengers and ventilating the cars more often.
At the beginning of the quarantine, some countries imposed severe restrictions on movement on public transport, fearing that the risk of contracting the coronavirus there is very high. However, already in April in the editorial of the Journal of Transport and Health notedthat transmission of COVID-19 in public transport is much less dangerous than even in households.
And what about Ukraine?
In Ukraine, public transport has been restricted since the end of March, when quarantine was introduced in the country. The maximum number of passengers allowed was set at half the number of seats. In addition, in Kiev, boarding on public transport was allowed only with special passes. Passenger transportation by rail and metro was banned altogether.
At the end of May, the full-fledged operation of surface public transport and the metro was allowed in Kiev. Passenger rail transportation began to recover from the beginning of June.
Since August 3, a new form of adaptive quarantine has been operating in Ukraine, according to which the country is divided into four zones according to the level of epidemiological danger. In the red zone (now it includes Lutsk and Ternopil, as well as the Kitsmansky district of the Chernivtsi region), public transport is prohibited.
Ukrzaliznytsia also announced the termination of ticket sales to stations located in the red zone. The carrier also stated that it will not stop trains at such stations. However, on August 3, despite such a ban, 85 passengers traveling from Kherson managed to stop the train in Ternopil.
4 August Minister of Infrastructure Vladislav Krykliy assuredthat passengers will be released from trains for disembarkation in the red zone, but they will not board there.