Telangana to sanitize Hyderabad Metro, TSRTC buses amid coronavirus outbreak
As reports of novel coronavirus cases emerged from Telangana, the state government has decided to sanitize its public transport. Telangana Municipal Administration Minister KT Rama Rao on Wednesday urged the Hyderabad Metro Rail (HMR) and Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) to cleanse Metro coaches and buses respectively. The development comes as one person tested positive for the novel coronavirus disease, called COVID-19.
Rao tweeted a news report about Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation issuing a circular to clean its buses with chlorine/alcohol-based disinfectants. In the tweet, Rao wrote, "Request MDs of (HMR), L&T Metro Rail Hyderabad (LTMRHL) to start the same in HYD Metro Rail immediately. Also, request Transport Minister (Puvvada Ajay Kumar) to direct TSRTC to do the same asap."
The HMR has reportedly taken several steps to prevent the disease from spreading further. Metro employees have already been informed about the preventive steps to be taken, such as hand hygiene and reporting sickness. After operational hours, metro stations, escalators, handrails, trains, and touch surface areas would be cleaned with soap and detergents. The HMR assured that the metro service would not be affected.
The first confirmed COVID-19 case in Telangana was reported from Hyderabad on Monday. The patient is a 25-year-old techie from Bengaluru with travel history to Dubai. Reportedly, 36 out of 88 people the techie came into contact with are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. Two other people have tested positive, however, their samples have been sent to the National Institute of Virology, Pune, for confirmation.
Till Wednesday, India had confirmed 28 cases of COVID-19. The virus that causes the disease, called SARS-CoV-2, emerged in China's Wuhan in mid-December and has since spread to over 50 countries. The disease impacts a host's respiratory system, causing flu-like symptoms. In severe cases, it may cause death. Globally, the disease has caused over 3,200 deaths and sickened nearly 100,000 people, mostly in China.