Face masks compulsory on all trains
As the spread of the new coronavirus rages on, all rail passengers are from Wednesday onwards strictly required to wear a face mask and leave sufficient space between each other while travelling on a train or waiting at a station.
These additional measures are in line with the Public Health Ministry's guidelines on preventing transmission of the new coronavirus and the 2015 Communicable Diseases Act, said Sorapong Paitoonphon, director-general of the Department of Rail Transport, as he on Tuesdayannounced the requirements.
The measures apply to rail services operated by the State Railway of Thailand, SRT Electrified Train Co, the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand, Bangkok Expressway and Metro Plc, and Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc.
Face masks will be sold at the entrances to stations for those who may not have any with them, he said.
Passengers will also have their body temperature measured as they enter and must leave a space of at least two metres between each other in all parts of the network, he said.
More temperature-screening equipment would also next be added to all train and electric train stations, he said.
In case any passengers are found to have body temperatures exceeding 37.5C or refuse to cooperate with the virus screening process, the train service operator has the authority to deny them entry, he said.
The service provider is also required to contact health authorities for further action on passengers with body temperatures of more than 37.5C, he said.
Safety for train staff handling passengers will also be beefed up, he said.
After the government on March 10 said mobile phone tracking would become one of the measures to track people in self-quarantine, an IT expert suggested that it would be technically possible to also send SMS alerts to the phones of those near individuals posing a risk.
Warnings, for example, could be sent to people travelling on trains when "risky" people enter the system, said Pawoot Pongvitayapanu, chief executive of Tarad.com, a local e-marketplace.