2 ex-DOH chiefs back shorter coronavirus distancing in public vehicles


Posted at Sep 18 2020 07:34 AM

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A group of experts that include former Health Secretaries Esperanza Cabral and Manuel Dayrit support the easing of physical distancing rules meant to curb coronavirus infections in the mass transport system.

"Palagay naman namin walang pinagkaiba iyong 1 meter sa 0.75 meter," Cabral told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo on Friday. "Lumingon ka lang o iusod mo lang iyong pwet mo doon sa jeep, abot mo na iyong 0.75 meter na iyon."

(We think there's not much difference between 1 meter and 0.75 meter. Just looking over your shoulder or moving a little when your seated in a jeep is enough to reach that 0.75 meter.)

"Basta ang importante, isuot mo iyong mask na mahusay at isuot mo palagi correctly, maglagay ka ng face shield, 'wag kang hawak nang hawak ng kung ano-ano tapos hahawakan mo iyong mukha mo. Maghugas ka lagi ng kamay," she said.

(What is important is wear a proper mask correctly, use a face shield and refrain from touching surfaces then touching your face. Wash your hands frequently.)

Transport operators should also disinfect vehicles regularly, added Cabral.

The transport department on Monday shortened the required distancing in public vehicles to 0.75 meter to accommodate more passengers and open up the economy, which the coronavirus dragged into recession.

However, several doctors and researchers opposed the policy, saying this could lead to an uptick in coronavirus cases.

The World Health Organization urges the public to keep a distance of 1 meter from others to dodge the virus. When someone coughs, sneezes, or speaks they spray small droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain the virus, the WHO said.

On Thursday, Malacañang announced that the required distancing would revert to 1 meter while President Rodrigo Duterte had yet to make a final decision on the issue.

TeleRadyo, Sept. 18, 2020