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Safe travels: Getting to work without getting coronavirus

As the UK gets back to the daily grind, here is the Government’s guidance on commuting safely.

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Passengers stand apart on a platform in London (PA)

Passengers stand apart on a platform in London (PA)

Passengers stand apart on a platform in London (PA)

Many people are in a dilemma about how to commute safely now the Government is trying to ease the lockdown and get the UK back to work.

However you get there, here is what the powers that be suggest you do to avoid Covid-19.

-Walking

After images showed packed rush-hour Tubes and buses, the public is being urged to walk to work if they can to reduce pressure on public transport.

Those on foot should maintain the two-metre social distancing rule from other pedestrians, particularly when approaching people on the pavement or at traffic lights.

-Cycling

For weeks during the shutdown, the number of cars on the roads dropped dramatically, prompting many councils to urge more people to get on their bikes.

Cyclists using docking or dockless bikes, or even your own bike left in a public place, should wash their hands for at least 20 seconds before and after cycling.

The recent drop in traffic has significantly boosted air quality in urban environments, and many local authorities are trying to accelerate plans for car-free zones in towns and cities to try to preserve this benefit.

A recent study suggested there was a link between poor air quality in a region and higher risk of death from Covid-19 to its inhabitants, which might boost the case for fewer cars in town centres.

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Passengers wear face masks and stand apart on a platform at Canning Town in London (Victoria Jones/PA)

Passengers wear face masks and stand apart on a platform at Canning Town in London (Victoria Jones/PA)

PA

Passengers wear face masks and stand apart on a platform at Canning Town in London (Victoria Jones/PA)

-Public transport

The Government is advising citizens to “avoid using public transport where possible”, asking them to “instead try to walk, cycle or drive”.

Commuters using public transport should try to stay two metres apart, guidance on the Government’s website states, and asks employers to consider flexible hours so employees can travel at off-peak times.

To prevent too many people handling ticket machines, passengers should pay their fare through ticketing apps or contactless payments.

Travellers are also asked to try to avoid busy transport hubs if possible by walking the first mile of their journey or alighting a stop earlier than normal.

You might also want to consider donning a DIY face mask – even though it is far from clear how useful these are.

The guidance states: “The evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you, but it may protect others if you are infected but have not yet developed symptoms.

“This is most relevant for short periods indoors in crowded areas.”

-Taxis and private hire vehicles

Starting at the taxi rank, travellers are asked to try to stay two metres apart while standing in line and follow any measures put in place by the operator.

Once in a vehicle, be aware of any of the surfaces you touch and keep your hand sanitiser at the ready – you may be asked to sit in the back lefthand seat to be as far from the driver as possible.

Again, think about wearing a face covering.

-Private cars

Those with cars should plan their route before travelling and try to stay as close to home as possible and avoid offering too many lifts to friends and family.

If you do carpool regularly, try to share with the same people for each journey and avoid having a full carload of people crammed into your vehicle.

At garages and service stations, wash your hands after handling pumps and other equipment, keep your distance from others and pay with contactless if possible.

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(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

Press Association Images

(PA Graphics)

-Planes and ferries

Each operator is likely to have its own system in place once services resume, but always try to stick to the Government’s advice on hand and face hygiene as well.

Wash or sanitise your hands regularly, keep as much distance between yourself and others as you can, cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing and consider a face covering.

-International travel

While it is unlikely many of us will be heading for sunnier climes this summer, as international travel starts to pick up in the coming months, it is important to check the rules at your destination.

Face masks are mandatory in some countries, others have quarantine measures in place for inbound travellers or may still have a strict lockdown in place.

Travellers can check the Foreign Office website for more information, inform their insurer and ask their airline, train or ferry operator what social distancing measures are in force.

PA