The coronavirus outbreak currently sweeping the globe has reminded a local man of what it was like to be a Hurstbridge Line commuter at the height of swine flu hysteria back in 2009. Cameron Finch reflected on the experience during this morning’s trip to work on the train, recalling the way people were treated if they coughed or sneezed in their carriage just over a decade ago.

Speaking to The Watsonia Bugle, Finch said, “Oh man, that swine flu pandemic was a shocker. You couldn’t even sniff on the train without getting a dirty look from someone, let alone launch into a sneezing fit. Hopefully this coronavirus thing doesn’t get that bad.”

However, Finch did concede that there were some positives during the hysterical month or so that swine flu seemed to grip our city. He said, “Look, on the flipside, it wasn’t all bad. Personal space on the train is always at a premium, and back in ‘09 you could easily get a row of seats to yourself just by coughing loudly a few times. Once I worked that out, it was awesome.”