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Coronavirus Kent: What buses, trains and ferries are doing to reduce outbreak

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As the number of UK cases increase, passengers in Kent will be looking to public transport providers for advice and ways to reduce the coronavirus outbreak on their networks.

Stagecoach will increase cleaning material across its network
Stagecoach will increase cleaning material across its network

After a school in Medway was forced to close for a deep clean after one of its pupils tested positive for the virus, buses, trains and ferries could come under pressure to help prevent the spread.

Buses

Stagecoach, which operates services in Herne Bay, Thanet, Canterbury, Ashford, Dover and Folkestone, are increasing the cleaning of their buses to slow the spread of Covid-19.

The company is increasing the amount of cleaning materials being used in depots across the region, as well as providing drivers with hand sanitiser.

A spokesman said: "We have in place a dedicated team which is closely monitoring and managing the current situation. Our priority is to protect the safety of our customers and our own employees.

"Detailed and regular reminders have been issued to our teams about hygiene good practice.

"We are also providing additional cleaning materials such as personal hand sanitiser for frontline employees, as well as extra cleaning materials for depots and other work areas.

Arriva bus at Tesco Sheerness
Arriva bus at Tesco Sheerness

Arriva, which operates in Medway, Dartford, Gravesend, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells, have said the risk of catching Covid-19 is still low so passengers should not be put off using their services.

A statement on the company's site said: "The current government advice is that the risk of catching coronavirus remains low and there is no need for people to stop using buses or other forms of public transport.

"All bus and coach operators have extensive cleaning and hygiene regimes in place to ensure services are fit for use – these continue to be monitored and adhered to.

"As the situation evolves the industry will continue to follow the advice from public health bodies and introduce any additional measures that are recommended or required and also keep passengers up to date on any changes to services."

The bus company is also following advice from the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK, which represents bus and coach companies across the country.

A Southeastern train. Stock picture
A Southeastern train. Stock picture

Trains

Train companies operating in the county, including Southeastern and ThamesLink, are following advice from the Rail Delivery Group to maintain good hygiene practices across their networks.

A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators and Network Rail, said: "To help tackle the spread of coronavirus, rail companies are doing more to ensure our trains and stations are clean.

"The kinds of steps being taken include a greater focus on cleaning high-touch areas in trains and at stations, increasing the use of anti-viral cleaning products and ensuring toilets are well stocked with soap and water.

"As well as putting up advice posters in stations and on trains, we are ensuring our people are kept aware of the latest advice to maintain good hand hygiene. We’re also asking passengers to support our efforts by following public health advice for everyone to wash their hands regularly and to ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ when they cough or sneeze.”

This comes as Transport For London announced the rolling out of enhanced anti-viral fluid and increased cleaning rotas on stations across the London Underground.

P&O Ferry ship Dover to Calais
P&O Ferry ship Dover to Calais

Ferries

P&O Ferries have made a number of changes to their operations following the outbreak.

They have put a disease management team in place who are trained in isolation procedures.

The company has also changed the way ships are ventilated, and have switched from air conditioning to 100% fresh air 'when possible.'

A letter from Janette Bell, CEO of P&O Ferries, said: "We are working closely with maritime experts and the World Health Organisation to ensure all staff receive ongoing briefings and are following robust COVID-19 protocols."

The Dover to Calais service continues to operate with 23 crossings per day.

As of Friday, March 13, the number of confirmed cases in France stood at 2,876 with 61 deaths.

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here.

To keep up-to-date with all the latest developments with your local hospitals and other health stories, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Kent


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