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Healthcare workers oppose reduced physical distancing in public transport

An alliance of healthcare workers appealed to the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to reject the reduction of the physical distancing standard in public transport amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Interviewed on Unang Hirit on Tuesday, Dr. Carmela Kasala of Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC) said the reduction can cause an increase in COVID-19 cases.

“Hindi talaga sang-ayon ang pangkat ng HPAAC dIyan sa pinaplanong 'yan. Malamang, tataas na naman ang cases ng COVID,” Kasala said.

“Baka iniisip ng mga tao na pawala na ang virus na 'to at pababa na 'yung mga numbers,” she added.

According to Kasala, the group will have a meeting with the IATF to discuss the matter on Tuesday. She said they will present a model to show possible impact of the reduction to the number of cases and death rate.

“Yung droplet, kahit yung aerosol sa pagsasalita, sa pag-ubo, sa paghatsing , lahat ‘yan may mga droplet na kumakalat sa hangin,” Kasala said.

“So kung nasa labas yan, kung nasa air around us, merong distansya ‘yan na puwedeng mag-travel ng two meters or six feet,” she added.

Kasala noted that the protection given by face mask and face shield is not absolute. She said this protection will work better with social distancing.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) implemented reduced physical distancing from one meter to 0.75 meter inside public mass transport starting Monday. It could be further reduced to 0.5 meter after two weeks and to 0.3 meter after another two weeks.

According to DOTR, this is to increase ridership in public transportation.

Based on the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO), a distance of at least one meter should be observed to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus.

On Monday, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the IATF will meet on Tuesday to discuss concerns on the reduced physical distancing. KBK, GMA News