DOH, Metro mayors back Duterte’s decision to keep 1-meter distancing in PUVs
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) and the Metro Manila Council (MMC) on Saturday backed the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to maintain the 1-meter physical distancing between passengers in public utility vehicles (PUVs).
In the Laging Handa online press briefing, DOH Undersecretary and spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire said there is scientific evidence to show that the 1-meter physical distancing rule can prevent the transmission of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“May paga-aral po both international and local. Dito po sa local, nagkaroon po paga-aral Kapag ikaw ay nagsuot ng mask, you can have about 67 percent protection from being infected,” she said.
(There are international and local studies. Local studies show that if you wear a mask, you have about 67 percent protection from being infected.)
“Kapag nagsuot ka ng face shield nadadagdagan pa ng porsyento para ikaw ay maprotektahan.,” she added. “Kapag sinamahan mo pa ng physical distancing itong dalawang minimum health standards, tumataas hanggang 99 percent ang proteksyon mo sa virus na ito.”
(If you wear a face shield, this increases the percentage of your protection. And if you also practice physical distancing apart from practicing the two minimum health standards, your protection from the virus is at 99 percent.)
Parañaque City mayor and MMC chairman Edwin Olivarez, meanwhile, said that the 1-meter distance rule was the “consensus” of the recent meeting between Metro Manila mayors, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III. The MMC is a policy-making body composed of all the mayors of Metro Manila.
“Binanggit po namin po doon na napakahirap kung babawasan namin yung pagre-reduce ng ating physical distancing sa public utility vehicle,” Olivarez said in the same press briefing.
(We mentioned there that it would be hard if we shorten the physical distancing in public utility vehicles.)
“Kami po ay nagagalak na ito po’y inaprubahan ng ating mahal na Presidente na we have to sustain ‘yung atin pong distancing regardless kung nasa labas ng mga PUV o nasa loob ka ng sasakyan,” he added.
(We welcome that the President has approved that we have to sustain the distancing regardless if you are outside PUVs or inside the vehicles.)
This comes after Palace spokesman Harry Roque relayed Duterte’s final word on the proposal to shorten physical distancing in PUVs.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) earlier pushed to shorten physical distancing between passengers in PUVs, with Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade claiming that National Task Force against COVID-19 and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease had backed the move.
Under the proposal, distancing among passengers in PUVs will be shortened to 0.75 meters from the 1-meter which is recommended by the World Health Organization.
In the proposal, the shortened physical distancing of 0.75 meters will still be further shortened to 0.5 meters after two weeks, and then later further shortened to 0.3 meters.
The social distancing rule of 0.75 meters was implemented on Monday, Sept. 14, for Duterte to decide on the matter.
As of Sept. 19, the country’s COVID-19 cases rose to 283,460, with 209,885 recoveries and 4,930 deaths.
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