Viral sardines: Photos emerge of packed QLD bus
SOCIAL distancing on public transport has proven difficult for Queenslanders to adhere to, with the state's Transport Minister saying pictures of packed buses were "the type of images we don't want to see".
A photo taken on the public Stradbroke Island Bus Service on Sunday morning showed at least 30 people crammed into the back of the bus.
Transport Minister Mark Bailey said it's important that people continue to do their bit to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
"Queenslanders have been leading the pack on the coronavirus response, which is why our number of active cases is so low, but these are the type of images we don't want to see," Mr Bailey said.
"On public transport that means keeping up your hygiene and adjusting your travel.
"As we've seen in New South Wales, capping the number of people in public transport is already proving difficult, with their transport authorities already looking at backtracking on restrictions."
Former Queensland Chief Health Officer and Professor of Public Health at QUT Gerry Fitzgerald said public transport was a "tricky" issue for the government but the risk of catching COVID-19 on public transport in Queensland was small.
"I don't know how we can have public transport and keep 1.5m distance," Professor Fitzgerald said.
"People aren't going to be able to sit 1.5m apart otherwise people will be waiting hours for buses.
"I think the risk is small … If you can't social distance, maybe wearing a mask can be helpful, not that it protects you but it might protect others from your virus."
Professor Fitzgerald stressed the importance of staying off public transport if you are even slightly sick.
"If anybody in Queensland got a cold or a sniffle right now they most likely have got a cold, not COVID-19 … but what we don't want is confusion posed by widespread common colds," he said.
As part of the government response to COVID-19, bus operators have increased cleaning and sanitation on buses and where possible have introduced rear-door boarding.
"Our plan going forward includes looking at additional services to shoulder those peak loads and larger buses on busier routes," Mr Bailey said.
"I've asked my department to talk with the operators to see what needs to be done as people start to travel to Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) again."
Originally published as Viral sardines: Photos emerge of packed QLD bus