Metro Manila mayors apprehensive over relaxed coronavirus distancing rules

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 14 2020 03:37 PM | Updated as of Sep 14 2020 03:41 PM

Commuters line up to ride the MRT-3 in Quezon City as it starts to accommodate more passengers, up to 204 from 153 per train, due to the newly implemented 0.75-meter physical distancing measurement between passengers. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — “Apprehension” hounds the 17 mayors of Metro Manila over the easing of physical distancing rules meant to prevent coronavirus infections in the mass transport system, their representative said Monday. 

Experts have warned of a possible spike in COVID-19 cases after regulators lowered the distancing requirements to 0.75 meter from 1 meter. This will be further reduced to half a meter after 2 weeks, said the transportation department. 

“Iyong pagbubukas po ng ating ekonomiya, hindi po dapat i-sacrifice natin ang health protocol,” said Parañaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez, chairperson of the Metro Manila Council. 

(We should not sacrifice health protocols for the opening of our economy.)

“Meron po kaming apprehension d’yan dahil iyon physical distancing, hindi po mapapairal… Alam naman po natin na hindi pa rin po natin nafa-flatten itong ating COVID-19 [curve] so we have to sustain iyong ating physical distancing,” he told ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo. 

(We have apprehension that physical distancing won’t be implemented. We know that our coronavirus curve has yet to flatten so we have to sustain our physical distancing.)

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Health Secretary Francisco Duque III in an online meeting with Metro Manila mayors and 7 other Cabinet secretaries on Sunday said his agency would reconsider the planned half-meter distancing requirement, according to Olivarez. 

The capital region accounts for 142,757 coronavirus infections out of the country’s total 261,216 cases, as of Sunday. 
    
Metro Manila’s mayors have also agreed to close private and public cemeteries from Oct. 29 to Nov. 4 to arrest the spread of the novel coronavirus during the observance of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day, said Olivarez.