Germany tries special coating to protect against viruses in buses

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As part of a nationwide pilot project, 12 regional buses in the town of Dormagen between the western cities of Dusseldorf and Cologne were initially equipped with the coating, Deutsche Bahn said.

All surfaces that could be touched by passengers and employees in the bus – for example the steering wheel, seats, stop buttons and handrails – were sprayed with an antiviral and antibacterial substance.

This demonstrably achieves a germ reduction of over 90 per cent, the company said, adding that the colourless substance protects the treated areas against germs for at least 12 months.

Among other things, it is active against yeast, mould, bacteria and viruses such as the norovirus and the coronavirus, thus ensuring greater safety for passengers and staff between the usual cleaning intervals, the company said.

Nevertheless, the current government hygiene rules to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus must still be observed on buses, said Bernd Strehl, the managing director of Deutsche Bahn’s regional bus operation for the state of North Rhine Westphalia, in which Dormagen is located.

“This also means that our passengers wear a mouth-and-nose cover, because the coating unfortunately cannot prevent infections through the air,” he said.

In addition, screens would gradually be installed to separate off the driver’s seat in all Deutsche Bahn buses, he added.

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