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Public transport drivers at high risk of coronavirus

Public transport drivers at high risk of coronavirus

Marthina Mutanga

AS the public transport industry is forced to adapt to the risks posed by the coronavirus one thing remains glaringly obvious, and that is that drivers are at high risk of contracting and spreading the coronavirus.

Unlike industries that allow the workforce to carry out their duties in isolation in the wake of the pandemic being declared a State or Emergency in the country, taxi and bus drivers cannot work remotely.

Most of them have started implementing new sanitation protocols while contending with reduced commuters as fears of COVID-19 persist.

The Namibia Bus and Taxi Association (Nabta) Secretary-General, Pendapala Nakathingo, has in the meantime urged taxi and bus drivers to wear masks and gloves to not only protect themselves, but their customers from the fast spreading virus.

Public transport drivers have also been advised to either introduce or scale up the disinfection of their vehicles on a regular basis.


Public transport drivers coronavirus
SAFETY CONCERNS: Public transport drivers say they have started working gloves and masks to protect themselves. Photo: Marthina Mutanga


Nakathingo added that they can also ensure that there is less chance of spreading the virus by constantly driving with open windows, especially when transporting passengers with flu-like symptoms.

“Drivers have also been advised to take their temperatures twice a day, once before starting work and a second time during the course of the day. Drivers who are not feeling well should stop work immediately and see a doctor,” noted Nakathingo.

City of Windhoek (CoW) spokesperson, Lydia Amutenya said they are discussing the necessary precautions to mitigate the spread of the deadly virus.

Amutenya said that for now, registered buses and taxis should be disinfected daily and drivers will be offered mask.

City bus driver are also required to disinfect all busses before and after transporting passengers.

Few taxi drivers say that while they fear for their safety, they have no choice but to continue working as they need to make ends meet.

“As schools were forced to close for one month, and with some companies demanding that people work from home, we have lost a lot of business. For now, we are mostly managing as there are still a lot of people who don’t have a choice but to use public transport to get around,” said Kava Mutirua, a taxi driver in the Capital.