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Duterte to decide on reduced physical distancing in public transport

/ 12:48 PM September 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will decide on the fate of the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) controversial move to reduce physical distancing among passengers in public transportation, Malacañang said Wednesday.

According to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) had a six-hour meeting on Tuesday to “reassess” the policy after medical experts warned that reducing the one-meter physical distance among commuters may lead to further coronavirus transmission.

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“The body came up with a recommendation to be submitted to the President and it will be the President who will ultimately decide,” Roque said in an interview over CNN Philippines’ The Source.

Roque said the President will decide no later than Thursday.

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In the meantime, the reduced physical distancing policy will be implemented, he added.

Last week, DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said the IATF and the National Task Force against COVID-19 (NTF) allowed the proposal to decrease physical distancing inside public utility vehicles (PUVs) to 0.75 meters from one meter, which is recommended by the World Health Organization.

The new physical distancing rule was implemented on Monday, Sept. 14.

However, a study by the Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 showed that shortening the required distance between passengers may result in 686 additional daily coronavirus infections.

Roque stressed that the IATF’s recommendation was based on science and that the multi-agency task force heard the position of medical experts about the issue.

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TAGS: Coronavirus, COVID-19, DoTr, IATF, Malacañang, NcoV, Outbreak, Philippines, physical distancing, Rodrigo Duterte
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