Coronavirus can spread on public transit. Here’s what commuters need to know

Amid rising concerns over the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus in Canada, public health officials are reinforcing the importance of good hygiene — especially for frequent public transit users.

On Sunday, Metrolinx said a woman who tested positive for COVID-19 was a passenger on a GO transit bus to Richmond Hill, Ont. Another Toronto man used public transit for several days before also being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 5. He had previously travelled to Las Vegas.

This news can be scary for people who use public transit regularly, especially as the number of cases in Canada are on the rise.

“Public transportation is safe. That’s the big picture,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, infectious diseases specialist with the University of Toronto and the University Health Network.

However, public spaces like trains, buses and transit stations are places where people gather in large numbers, which has the potential to increase the transmission of COVID-19.

“We know how it’s transmitted,” Bogoch said. “We know that it can stick to surfaces for a period of time, although we’re not entirely sure of how long it can be viable on surfaces.”

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