In this Pandemic, a car in operation can be a dangerous environment when the air-conditioner is running without any outside ventilation to dilute the viruses, if any.
Imagine, if either the driver or passenger is a spreader of the Covid-19 virus, then either of you are in the perfect Pandemic storm: a confined, air-conditioned environment with a crowd – yes, two people in a car is a crowd.
“In fact, we should test drivers of taxis and ride-hailing cars weekly for a start, and see how it goes,” said Dr Nirmal Singh, a practising GP and a Fellow of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians, Ireland.
“The SOP rule for this current MCO is that in your private car, only you and your wife can go. Only two people.
“What is the logic of allowing hundreds of people who are together exchanging all their germs inside a cabin in the MRT, LRT, KTM and Monorail?
“For the pandemic, the Transport Ministry should review the use of vehicle air conditioners in this country. If there’s more than one person in a vehicle, the air-conditioning may be switched on condition that the windows must be wound-down to get a circulation of external air in the cabin.
“As for public transport, there should be a system of ventilation or continuous disinfection system in the MRT caboose,” he said in a telecon.
In China, it was observed that buses were disinfected at the termination of a route. Arrays of high-powered UVs were wheeled inside the empty coach and the lights were switched on for a few minutes to kill the germs.
On a personal note, while there’s no clinical proof that the performance of the ionisers are adequate in relation to the cabin space of the car, it’s a step in the right direction.
Even with the ioniser, if you ride in any public service vehicle, you should seek the driver’s approval and wind-down your window to ventilate with exterior air.
On my recent rides with Grab, I was suffering a months-long cough. I asked the drivers on the three rides if I could wind-down my window and they were OK about it.
Sharing this with a friend about Grab drivers, he observed that there were Grab drivers who drove with their window open when they didn’t have a passenger. That means the drivers also want to ventilate their cars and flush out viruses if any.
Earlier this week, Grab Malaysia unveiled a partnership with Panasonic to install nanoe X ionisers inside premium GrabCars. In this initiative to counter Covid-19, 5,500 GrabCar Premium vehicles in five cities across four countries Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi (Vietnam), and Jakarta (Indonesia) will be equipped with nanoe X generators to provide a cleaner travelling experience.