Public transport operators not following ‘social distancing’ guidelines

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Public transportation drivers continue to overcrowd their vehicles, ignoring signs and the impact which COVID-19 could have on the population, despite calls for social distancing to be practised amidst significant health threats.

Government has already imposed restrictions on operators of minibuses, cars and other public transportation, directing that the number of passengers should be slashed by half.

However, even after these notices, current transportation practices in the public sector has continued as per normal.

On Wednesday, INews checked out key bus parks at the Stabroek Market and found that passengers were crammed next to each other as obtained in normal circumstances.

It was observed that many persons at the Route 44 (Mahaica) bus park did not object to this practice. While a majority of passengers adhered to the ‘four persons per seat’ rule, one woman took up her concerns with the driver.

Instead, he rebutted that they would have to increase the fare should they transport less persons per trip.

Another driver, Kissoon (only name provided) said he could not possibly reduce the load by half, but opted to three per row instead. Along with that, he said, the bus is sanitized after each trip.

Other than taxi drivers, hire car operators continued their daily activities without any changes.

Meanwhile, over at the Stabroek Wharf, water taxis have taken the social distancing initiative seriously and are mandating that passengers sit some distance away from each other. They are also reducing the number of persons they carry per trip. This was accompanied by frequent sanitization of the speedboats and limiting physical contact between operators and passengers.

On Tuesday, caretaker Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence reiterated her call for persons to observe social distancing and to heed all advisories published by her ministry.

“I have noticed that despite the countless messages appealing to you to be responsible, to comply with the advisory measures…. you are still breaching the protocols and behaving as if you are immune to the disease. Let me remind you that COVID-19 has no boundaries, its firing power is aimed at all of us,” she emphasised

It has been just about three weeks since the first coronavirus case was confirmed in Guyana. Today there are a total of 19 confirmed cases of which 15 are active cases, one inconclusive and four deaths.