Transmission of respiratory viruses when using public ground transport : a rapid review to inform public health recommendations during the COVID-19 pandemic

Zhen, J. ; Chan, C. ; Schoonees, A. ; Apatu, E. ; Thabane, L. ; Young, T. (2020-05-07)

CITATION: Zhen, J. et al. 2020. Transmission of respiratory viruses when using public ground transport : a rapid review to inform public health recommendations during the COVID-19 pandemic. South African Medical Journal, 110(6), doi:10.7196/SAMJ.2020.v110i6.14751.

The original publication is available at http://www.samj.org.za

Article

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous countries worldwide declared national states of emergency and implemented interventions to minimise the risk of transmission among the public. Evidence was needed to inform strategies for limiting COVID-19 transmission on public transport. On 20 March 2020, we searched MEDLINE, CENTRAL, Web of Science and the World Health Organization’s database of ‘Global research on coronavirus disease (COVID-19)’ to conduct a rapid review on interventions that reduce viral transmission on public ground transport. After screening 74 records, we identified 4 eligible studies. These studies suggest an increased risk of viral transmission with public transportation use that may be reduced with improved ventilation. International and national guidelines suggest the following strategies: keep the public informed, stay at home when sick, and minimise public transport use. Where use is unavoidable, environmental control, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene are recommended, while a risk-based approach needs to guide the use of non-medical masks.

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