Updated 17.9.2020

How does the coronavirus spread?

The novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) primarily spreads by droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, speaks or sings. When in close proximity to others, coronavirus can also be transmitted via contact if, for example, an infected person coughs in his hands and then touches another person.  There are no known cases of infection via items, animals or foodstuff.  

Precautions in the vehicle 

  • The goal is to protect the driver with a permanent or temporary safety cabin or plastic shield and by keeping distance to the passengers.
  • If there are different types of fleet available, vehicles with existing safety cabins are to be used.
  • A temporary shield between the driver and the passenger can be made of transparent plastic, e.g. polycarbonate. The shield can be installed independently, but there are also good installation solutions available from various service providers.
  • The shield must be installed so that it does not hinder the driver’s work or exit from the vehicle even in case of an accident.
  • The passengers should avoid standing close to the driver. The vehicle should not be loaded full of passengers during rush hours. 
  • If the vehicle already has a driver shield, additional protection can be achieved by attaching barricade tape between the driver and passengers and by preventing access to seats, especially the first rows of seats in large vehicles, with barricade tape.
  • If the vehicle has doors equipped with card readers other than the front door next to the driver, passengers should primarily use these other doors
  • Have alcohol-based hand sanitizer at hand in the vehicle in case the driver or other logistics personnel do not have the possibility to wash their hands with soap and water. Familiarize yourself with the hand-washing guidelines of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).
  • The air conditioning should be on and efficient.  
  • Line the waste bins of the vehicle with easily removable plastic bags or provide the passenger a separate waste bag, if necessary. Remove the waste bags after the trip by tying together the sides of a bag or taping it shut and put the bags in the mixed waste for incineration.
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after touching their means of payment, other belongings or waste they left behind.
  • Used gloves must be taken off and put into the waste bin without touching their outer surface. (video, in Finnish)

Respirator and face mask 

  • Face masks may be necessary in situations where it is impossible to maintain a safe physical distance and the duration of close contacts is more than 15 minutes. 
  • Following a risk assessment, if the employer deems respirators and face masks necessary, the employer is obligated to supply protective masks and oversee their use. The employee is obligated to wear the protective gear provided by the employer.
  • The face masks may also be necessary  when others need to be protected from the mask user’s respiratory secretions. 
  • The employer must ensure that it is possible to use a mask or protective equipment correctly in work and that employees know how to use them correctly. High temperature in the working environment as well as age-related physiological changes as well as respiratory and cardiovascular diseases can make it difficult to use face masks and respiratory protective equipment. Occupational health services can conduct a health check-up in order to determine whether an employee can be required to use protective equipment or a face mask.  
  • If the respirators or face masks are needed at work, they cannot be used for the whole day but there is a need for breaks so that the driver will not get too tired and risk the safety of the traffic.  
  • The face mask and respirator need to be changed if it gets wet or is taken off  e.g. because of eating or drinking. 

THL recommends the passengers to wear a mask  in the following situations:

  • in public transport where it is difficult to avoid close contacts  
  • If a passenger is on one’s  way to take a coronavirus test and is waiting for the test results and have an urgent reason to spend time outside your home 
  • If one is returning to Finland from a risk area and are travelling from the place of arrival, such as an airport, to quarantine and also if you have an urgent reason to spend time outside your home during quarantine. 
  • Both drivers and passengers are recommended to use a disposable face mask when the passenger is suspected to have been infected by COVID-19.  One can also use respirators  (FFP2, FFP3).  
  • Primarily the passenger should sit as far away from the driver as possible,. 

Instructing the driver 

  • If the driver has even mild symptoms of COVID-19, he/she should not go to work. One should use the Omaolo online symptom check-up service or contact a health care service provider or your occupational health care service provider by phone or online in order to book a coronavirus test appointment. The symptoms are listed on the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare website. 
  • The use of face mask is also recommended when transporting persons belonging to the risk groups (e.g. like old people or handicapped people).  
  • Used disposable masks and gloves must be taken off and put into the into mixed waste once used.  Take off the masks and gloves without touching their outer surface. Wash your hands after you have taken off the mask and gloves.    
  • Hands need to be washed or hand sanitizer used after touching passenger’s means of payment, other belongings or waste they left behind  
  • Hands need to be washed also when taking a break, when eating or before smoking and when leaving work to go home.   
  • Touching  face and especially the area of mouth, nose and eyes with unwashed hands needs to avoided.  

Protection of the driver and othersif a passenger has symptoms  

  • If you notice a passenger with symptoms, keep them as far away as possible. In taxis, the recommended location is in the right side of the back seat.
  • In a bus or other mode of public transport a person coughing intensely must be located clearly apart (preferably at a distance of 2 metres) from other passengers, if possible. A face mask can be offered to the sick passenger, especially in long-distance transport.
  • Have also tissue paper on hand especially, so that passengers can cough or sneeze into a tissue if the person is not able to use a face mask
  • If necessary, ask the passenger to cough into a disposable tissue or into their own sleeve.

Cleaning the vehicle after transporting a person who is suspected to be infected with the coronavirus:

  • Have disinfectant wipes or a spray bottle of disinfectant (e.g. an alcohol-based solution (70%) or 0.05% sodium hypochlorite) on hand for wiping down the inner surfaces of the vehicle after the trip, if necessary.
  • Use disposable sanitary wipes for cleaning surfaces and put them into mixed waste once used.
  • Remember to wipe down the payment terminal, door handles, arm rests and waste bins as well as the keys of the vehicle and the steering equipment.
  • Use disinfectant when handling protective gloves.
  • If you a have strong suspicion of a passenger being infected with the coronavirus, you must clean the interior of the vehicle thoroughly after the trip. See the the Cleaning guidelines of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. 

Contacting health services

  • If you have even mild symptoms of COVID-19, you should use the Omaolo online symptom check-up service or contact a health care service provider or your occupational health care service provider by phone or online in order to book a coronavirus test appointment. The symptoms are listed on the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare website. 

 

The guidelines of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH) are drawn up together with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (SMAH) and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. We also follow the publications of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), COVID-19

World Health Organization (WHO), coronavirus