Train passengers could be infected by coronavirus if they sit within 8ft of someone who is ill on a two-hour journey, says study
- Research found 1m distance was required to be safe during an hour-long journey
- The study was based on the spread of coronavirus on high-speed route in China
- An average of 0.32% of passengers sitting three seats across and five in front or behind an infected person caught Covid-19
Train passengers could be infected by coronavirus if they sit within 8ft of someone carrying the disease on a two-hour journey, research suggests.
Scientists also found that more than one-metre social distancing is required to be safe when travelling for one hour.
The latest data comes as workers across the country prepare for commuting again as employers begin to ask their staff to return to the office.
Rail users who sit within 8ft someone carrying coronavirus could be infected on a two-hour journey
The study was based on high-speed routes in China and conducted as part of the University of Southampton’s WorldPop project in collaboration with several organisations from the country, including the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Analysis covering the spread of the virus between December 19 and March 6 found that an average of 0.32% of passengers sitting within three seats across and five in front or behind an infected person caught the disease.
Passengers travelling in seats adjacent to a sufferer had the highest chance of being infected, at 3.5%.
The research, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, also showed the transmission rate for those on the same row was 1.5%.
Lead investigator Dr Shengjie Lai said: ‘Our study shows that although there is an increased risk of Covid-19 transmission on trains, a person’s seat location and travel time in relation to an infectious person can make a big difference as to whether it is passed on.
‘The findings suggest that during the Covid-19 epidemic it is important to reduce the density of passengers and promote personal hygiene measures, the use of face coverings, and possibly carry-out temperature checks before boarding.’
Passengers travelling in seats adjacent to a sufferer had the highest chance of being infected, at 3.5% (Pictured: Passengers on a train in Brighton last month)
Department for Transport guidance for public transport users states that if they cannot stay two-metres apart from others, they should maintain a one-metre gap ‘where possible’ and take ‘suitable precautions’ such as washing hands regularly and touching as few surfaces as possible.
Face coverings are mandatory across all public transport in the UK.
WorldPop director Professor Andy Tatem said: ‘Our research is the first to quantify the individual risk of Covid-19 transmission on public transport based on data from epidemiological investigations of disease cases and their close contacts on high-speed trains.
‘It shows that the transmission risk not only relates to the distance from an infected person, but also the time in their presence.
‘We hope it can help to inform authorities globally about measures needed to guard against the virus and in turn help to reduce its spread.’
Source: Read Full Article