Wuhan virus: ComfortDelGro, SMRT, private-hire car operators step up preventive measures

ComfortDelGro taxi drivers are encouraged to wear face masks if they have respiratory symptoms such as a cough or runny nose. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Public transport companies are taking more precautions in the wake of three confirmed cases of the Wuhan virus in Singapore.

Rail operator SMRT is putting hand sanitisers at all MRT stations and bus interchanges for commuters to use, while ComfortDelgro, Grab and Gojek are stockpiling masks and disinfectant for their staff, including delivery riders, taxi and bus drivers.

Employees have been advised against travelling to Hubei province, whose capital Wuhan is the epicentre of the outbreak, and to exercise good personal hygiene when travelling to other parts of China.

Those who have been to China recently were also told to monitor their health closely for two weeks on their return to Singapore.

An SMRT spokesman said on Friday (Jan 24) that employees going overseas have to make a travel declaration, while those returning from China will undergo mandatory temperature taking.

Meanwhile, ComfortDelgro said it has issued travel and personal hygiene advisories to all staff, including its taxi drivers.

Also, surgical masks have been placed at all its fuel kiosks, workshops and general counters for taxi drivers, and it has urged drivers to wear face masks if they have respiratory symptoms like a cough or runny nose.

Grab and ComfortDelGro have also advised drivers to clean and disinfect their vehicles more often.

ComfortDelGro's managing director and group chief executive officer, Mr Yang Ban Seng, said: "Since Sars in 2003, we have made sure that we are always ready for any similar incident."

He added: "As part of our business continuity plans, we have stockpiled masks and disinfectants to ensure that we are never caught unaware. We, of course, hope that we do not need to activate these plans, but we will if we have to."

A Grab spokesman said the company has advised its drivers and delivery riders to wear masks while ferrying passengers or delivering food.

Both Grab and Gojek said they are working closely with the authorities to provide support, where necessary.

"(These measures) include a process for contact tracing," said a Gojek spokesman.

As of Friday, Singapore has three confirmed cases of the Wuhan virus.

The first, confirmed on Thursday, was a 66-year-old tourist from Wuhan. He is in stable condition at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH).

On Friday, his 37-year-old son who was travelling with him was confirmed to have the virus too. He is also at SGH and in stable condition.

Another Chinese tourist - a 53-year-old woman from Wuhan who came separately from the two men - was also confirmed on Friday as having the virus.

She is warded at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) and in stable condition.

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