The Noida Metro Rail Corporation, or NMRC has released the Standard Operating Procedure for the resumption of services from September 7, during the coronavirus outbreak. This includes mandatory thermal screening, physical distancing, masks and the use of the Aarogya Setu app for contact tracing.

The rail network between the twin cities of Noida and Greater Noida, which is known as the Aqua Line, was suspended in March when a countrywide lockdown was imposed to control the spread of Covid-19.

Under the new guidelines, trains would run from 7 am to 11 am and from 5 pm to 9 pm, with a frequency of 15 minutes from Monday to Saturday. On Sundays, the services will start from 8 am, the guidelines said.

Only one gate will be kept open for entry and exit at 15 of the total 21 stations. These are Sector 101, Sector 81, NSEZ, Sector 83, Sector 137, Sector 142,Sector 143, Sector 144, Sector 145, Sector 146, Sector 147, Sector 148, Alpha 1, Delta 1 and GNIDA Office.

Meanwhile, at the remaining six stations – Sector 51, Sector 50, Sector 76, KP-II, Pari chowk, Depot Station – both gates will remain open for commuters.

Passengers are advised to make digital payments at ticket counters and have been asked to avoid touching the gates while scanning the QR tickets or Smart Cards, the SOP added. In order to ensure adequate physical distancing, markings have been made for passengers at a space of one metre across the station premises.

On escalators, a gap of at least one step should be maintained between two users, the NMRC said. All lifts will be closed. However, they will be made available on request for senior citizens and physically challenged passengers.

Only those passengers with body temperature up to 37.7 degrees Celsius will be allowed to board the trains. Besides this, those who have a “green status” on the Aarogya Setu app will be permitted to travel.

However, NMRC Managing Director Ritu Maheshwari said commuters who do not own a smartphone or a mobile to display the app would also be be allowed entry if they clear the screening processes, PTI reported. “The concept behind the Aarogya Setu app rule is to take precautions,” she told the news agency. “The guidelines are made so as to discourage entry of people without the app.”

The Centre had announced that metro rail services across the country will be resumed on September 7, as part of “Unlock 4.0”, the fourth phase of the easing of lockdown restrictions imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus. On Wednesday, it released the Standard Operating Procedure for the same.

India’s coronavirus count went up to 39,37,017 on Friday with 83,341 new cases. The toll rose by 1,096 to 68,472. Over 30 lakh people have recovered so far.

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Coronavirus: Mandatory thermal screening, masks as Centre issues SOPs for metro rail services