An employee of Tokyo Metro sprays chemicals for anti-virus and bacteria coating in order to prevent infections following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, inside a subway car at Tokyo Metro's rail yard in Tokyo on Thursday. Photo: REUTERS/Issei Kato
national

Is that hand strap clean? Tokyo Metro sprays silver to fend off coronavirus

12 Comments

As global public transport operators look for ways to keep the coronavirus at bay on planes, trains and buses, one of Japan's biggest rail firms is betting on the anti-microbial properties of silver to keep passengers safe on the world's busiest subway.

Tokyo's labyrinthine rail network of about 900 stations and roughly 85 lines has seen passenger numbers approach pre-virus levels since the city's de facto lockdown was lifted in late May.

This raises the risk of transmission via high-contact points such as hand straps, hand rails and seats, just as the city's number of new cases of COVID-19 infection is rising again.

Tokyo Metro, the city's main subway operator, has begun spraying its nearly 3,000 cars with a super-fine atomisation of a silver-based compound, taking advantage of silver's anti-antimicrobial properties to repel the virus from surfaces.

"Merely disinfecting the carriages only has a short-term effect, so we were looking for an anti-microbial application to reassure passengers that our trains are safe," Masaru Sugiyama, Tokyo Metro's section chief in charge of rolling stock, said at a demonstrationy.

After the end of daily operations, masked cleaners hauling motorised atomisers stride through carriages, spraying straps, poles, seats and windows with a mist of 10 micron droplets, roughly the size of a grain of pollen.

Tokyo Metro said the anti-microbial compound has been shown to be effective against viruses including influenza and E-coli, though has not yet been proven to repel the novel coronavirus.

Other operators are also looking at ways to help Tokyo's passengers select less crowded trains to increase chances of social distancing on a network serving 40 million daily trips.

East Japan Railway Co, the country's biggest rail network operator, last month updated its mobile app to offer real-time updates on capacity by carriage, along with crowd levels at stations.

© Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

12 Comments
Login to comment

So you are spraying.something and you haven't tested it?

Why don't you spray disinfectant as well?

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Tokyo Metro said the anti-microbial compound has been shown to be effective against viruses including influenza and E-coli

Someone has to learn the difference between viruses and bacteria.

So you are spraying.something and you haven't tested it?

Because testing takes weeks to months and can only be done in infectious diseases laboratories with specialized equipment. Silver particles have been shown to be effective against a wide variety of viruses including some that are related to coronaviruses so it is not a stretch to think they will be effective against covid-19.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

What about using UVC lamps on the trains when they are out of service,

ref:

https://nypost.com/2020/05/19/mta-rolling-out-virus-killing-uv-lamps-on-nyc-subways-and-buses/

4 ( +5 / -1 )

taking advantage of silver's anti-antimicrobial properties to repel the virus from surfaces.

Tokyo Metro said the anti-microbial compound has been shown to be effective against viruses including influenza and E-coli, though has not yet been proven to repel the novel coronavirus.

Seems like a PR move, to assure users something is being done even though the effective is unknown.

Well, I am nit surprised at all, image matters alot here.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Spraying the silver is a good start,( all though I agree with drlucifer, it might be more of a PR move), but I wish something more would be done to control the number of people in each train car. Not everyone has smart phones so that they could use the apps.

I wonder if they could place some kind of sensors (e.g. heat sensors, just to detect the number of human bodies) in each car, and then screens visible to people waiting on the platforms - the screens would be green if there was plenty of space, yellow if it was moderately crowded, and red, if there were too many people inside. People on the platform could then easily decide whether to get on the particular car or not.

This wouldn't compromise anyone's identity, like a camera surveillance would do. I have no idea how feasible and how expensive this would be though - just a thought.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Look at it this way: at least it will keep the werewolves out.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

anti-antimicrobial

Wouldn't that just make it microbial ?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@100pcm, it is one of the best solutions at the moment, I suppose they could build them into the roof of the carriage in the future so they will be less conspicuous, then they could be used overnight every night with out affecting passengers during the day, the aluminium boxes on the pole look a bit clumsy and have a few sharp edges, not the best thing in a packed commuter train, but it is a start to trying to get on top of the C19 virus. I suppose if they were fitted into the roof lining of the train they could be used on a train even during the day, you could close off one carriage at a time when there is less passengers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So spraying some chemical stuff in ambiance right before you go in is OK for you ?

Sorry for not willing to be a lab rat, especially if you have to take train on a dayly basis.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Let's just hope that we don't read a report 10 years later stating that the silver spray is the reason for an increase in lung diseases.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Could this be the silver bullet?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Let's just hope that we don't read a report 10 years later stating that the silver spray is the reason for an increase in lung diseases.

The spray is no longer in the air when people use the trains so there is no special exposure of the lungs, also silver particles have not been tested for their efficacy inactivating covid-19, but they are well tested for safety since they have been used for long time to disinfect against other pathogens.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites