HCMC transport department calls for social distancing on buses

By Manh Tung   March 25, 2020 | 09:00 pm PT
HCMC transport department calls for social distancing on buses
Swedish tourists ride a open-top, double-decker bus, a service for sightseeing tour in HCMC, January 21, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
Buses should carry less than 20 passengers at a time as a precaution against the novel coronavirus, the HCMC transport department has recommended.

It said further on Wednesday that passengers on all public buses and those used to ferry workers to industrial zones must wear face masks and sit just one to a seat, and the vehicles should provide hand santinizers.

Besides, it approved suspension of Saigon water bus services until April 5 since the number of passengers, mostly foreign tourists, has fallen.

Before the pandemic it was carrying around 900 passengers daily.

The city operates public buses on 132 routes and there are 251,000 passengers every day on average. Another 5,800 inter-provincial buses also run every day carrying 85,000 passengers.

Director of the city health department, Nguyen Tan Binh, said Tuesday the city should halt all public transport services, especially buses.

Nguyen Thien Nhan, HCMC's Party Secretary has asked all city residents to remain at home for the next two weeks to help Vietnam keep the total number of infections below 500.

"The city and country have two critical weeks to decide whether to win the Covid-19 battle. If this golden opportunity is missed, we won’t have another chance."

HCMC now accounts for nearly a third of the country’s infection tally. If the number rises to 1,000, the city would have around 300 patients, and it has enough ICU beds for them, he said.

Vietnam has so far had 148 confirmed cases, of whom 17 have recovered and the rest are currently in hospital.

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