WHO urges public to practice 'physical,' not social, distancing

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 24 2020 04:11 PM

Health workers from the Valenzuela City government check the temperatures of motocycle riders entering the checkpoint between Valenzuela City and Meycauayan, Bulacan on Monday. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The World Health Organization has shifted to recommending "physical distance" instead of social distancing, as it emphasized the importance of mental health while the world is finding ways to combat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, an official said last Friday.

The WHO decided to change the term as people do not need to socially "disconnect from our loved ones."

"We're changing to say physical distance and that's on purpose because we want people to still remain connected. Technology right now has advanced so greatly that we can keep connected in many ways without actually physically being in the same room or physically being in the same space with people," WHO epidemiologist Dr. Maria Kerkhove said in a press briefing.

"So find ways to do that, find ways through the internet and through different social media to remain connected because your mental health going through this is just as important as your physical health."

The WHO earlier urged the public to practice social distancing as the virus is transmitted via droplets released when someone coughs or sneezes.

The Philippine government imposed "social distancing" by requiring a spacing of at least 1 meter in diameter between people.

The country on Tuesday recorded more cases of COVID-19, raising the nationwide total to 501. Of this figure, 33 patients have died while 19 have recovered.