Coronavirus: 300,000 face masks for taxi, private hire car passengers

A female traveller seen wearing a face mask at Changi Airport's Terminal 3 transit area on 6 February 2020. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — The government will provide 300,000 surgical masks for taxi and private hire car (PHC) drivers to offer to passengers who are unwell and need a ride to seek medical attention, said the Land Transport Agency (LTA).

In a statement on Monday (10 February), LTA said the masks will be distributed to drivers in packs of four through the taxi companies and major ride hail operators from Tuesday. Since 25 January, these companies have also been giving out hand sanitisers and surgical masks to drivers who need them.

This is part of precautionary measures by LTA, the Ministry of Health (MOH), Point-to-Point (P2P) operators, the National Taxi Association (NTA) and the National Private Hire Vehicles Association (NPHVA) to combat the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), and to safeguard the health of drivers and passengers alike.

From Tuesday, eight temperature screening stations will be set up across all taxi operators’ premises, to be progressively extended to other locations. Taxi drivers who are identified to be unwell will be asked to seek medical attention immediately and visit the doctor. For PHC drivers, operators will, as a start, require their drivers to take their own temperature and to submit their temperature readings via their mobile applications.

Together with the NTA and NPHVA, LTA will also progressively set up island-wide temperature taking stations for all P2P drivers.

“Drivers have been advised to wind down their vehicles’ windows when ferrying passengers with flu-like symptoms and after every completed trip to improve ventilation in their vehicles. Drivers have also been advised to take their temperature twice a day, once before starting work and another time in the course of the day,” said LTA.

Drivers who are not feeling well should stop work immediately and see a doctor. The agency also reminded passengers who are unwell to be socially responsible and don a mask before their ride.

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