DOH: ‘One-seat-apart’ rule in PUVs doesn't 'ease' physical distancing protocol | Inquirer News

DOH: ‘One-seat-apart’ rule in PUVs doesn’t ‘ease’ physical distancing protocol

/ 05:14 PM October 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The government’s decision to enforce a one-seat-apart rule in public transportation does not ease current physical distancing protocols against coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Department of Health said Wednesday.

“Kapag tinignan natin, parang hindi naman natin talaga in-ease iyong measure…This is just for us to be able to communicate properly ito pong ating protocol na kailangan nga po meron tayong distansya sa ating mga transport vehicles,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online press briefing.


(Looking at it, it seems we don’t really ease the measure … This is done for us to communicate correctly that this is our protocol, and we really need physical distancing in our transport vehicles.)


“So, kailangan lang po magkaroon ng message na mas maayos at mas maliwanag para sa ating mga kababayan, kaya ginamit ang one seat apart,” she added.

(We need a stronger and simpler message for our countrymen, so we’re using one seat away.)

She went on: “Hindi po natin tinangal, kailangan meron pa rin pong distance between and among passengers in a specific transport vehicle.”

(We did not remove it, we still need to have a distance between and among our passengers in a specific transport vehicle.)

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque has announced that the government’s economic team’s recommendations were approved during a Cabinet meeting presided over by President Duterte, including the one-seat apart rule in public transportation which effectively scrapped the one-meter distance to further reopen the economy during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) recently approved a proposal to reduce physical distancing inside public utility vehicles (PUVs) to 0.75 meters from one meter. But some medical experts warned that reducing the prescribed physical distance among commuters may lead to further COVID-19 transmission.


The opposition prompted Duterte to reject the new protocol and maintain the World Health Organization-recommended one-meter physical distance rule.

But IATF vice-chair Karlo Nograles said the IATF would reconsider the reduced physical distance, citing the improved epidemiological indicators such as the positivity rate, reproduction rate, and the attack rate.

Likewise, the DOH appealed to the Department of Transportation to ensure proper ventilation inside PUVs to reduce the risk of coronavirus infection.

“Ang atin lang pong pinapaliwanag at gustong iparating sa ating mga kababayan, kailangan lang po talaga magminimum health standards tayo. Kailagan po nakamask, face shield, bawal pong kumain at as much as possible wala pong nag-uusap sa transport vehicle,” Vergerei said.

(We want to convey to our countrymen that we really have to follow the minimum health standards. You have to wear a mask, face shield, you are not allowed to eat and as much as possible no one talks inside the transport vehicle.)

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“And of course we remind the Department of Transportation to strictly enforce ito pong ventilation mechanism na pinalabas natin para maguide tayo, para makaiwas pa tayo sa impeksyon,” she added.

(And of course, we would like to remind the Department of Transportation to strictly enforce this ventilation mechanism that we put out so that we can be guided and avoid infection.) [ac]

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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TAGS: Coronavirus, COVID-19, DoH, IATF, NcoV, pandemic, Philippines, PUVs

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