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Public transport can be 'very safe' if commuters keep their masks on and refrain from talking, says transport minister

Public transport can be 'very safe' if commuters keep their masks on and refrain from talking, says transport minister

A commuter wearing a face mask at an MRT station in Singapore on Mar 18, 2020. (File photo: Catherine LAI/AFP)

SINGAPORE: While there might be “transient” crowding at certain train stations, public transport is “very safe” if commuters refrain from talking and keep their masks on, said Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung on Friday (May 14).

He was responding to a reporter’s question on possible measures to limit crowds in public transport during a press conference by the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force.

The transport minister said: “Be assured that the air ventilation within the train is actually very good. Excluding the opening and closing of train doors, every six minutes, all the air is being replenished.”

He added that until Friday's announcements of the latest measures, commuter volumes have been at around 70 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said the figure has dropped to about 40 per cent for central business district journeys by train.

READ: Group sizes down from 5 to 2, dining-in suspended as Singapore tightens COVID-19 measures

READ: Singapore, Hong Kong travel bubble may be delayed; decision by early next week: Ong Ye Kung

The LTA has been monitoring crowding on trains, and observed that crowding usually happens at a particular station at a certain time, dispersing once the train reaches the next station.

“So with good ventilation ... (if commuters) refrain from talking, keep your mask on, and LTA and the public transport operators running the train frequencies normally like pre-COVID, I think we can keep public transport very safe,” said Mr Ong. 

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Source: CNA/cc

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