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Dayrit says physical distancing in public transpo can be reduced if...

The one-meter distance between individuals in public transport should not be the "dogma" in the fight against COVID-19, former Health secretary Manuel Dayrit said Thursday amid debate on 0.75 meters being implemented by the Department of Transportation (DOTr). 

Dayrit made the observation as the nation awaits President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision if the one meter physical distance will be maintained as recommended by the Department of Health or it will be reduced gradually as the DOTr and the government's economic team sgguested to perk up the economy.

Dayrit said the one-meter physical distance can be reduced gradually, only if the following conditions which he tagged as seven commandments are complied with:

  • wearing face mask covering mouth and nose
  • wearing of face shield
  • no talking and eating
  • adequate ventilation
  • frequent and proper disinfection using bleach
  • no symptomatic passengers and
  • appropriate physical distancing

“We can do away with one-meter physical distancing, but incrementally and we have to monitor how it goes. This is a learning experience, but we cannot do one meter as a dogma,” he said.

“It is possible to go below one meter if there is proper implementation of seven commandments. One meter is not the dogma,” Dayrit added.

Policies, Dayrit said, should move towards allowing people to survive the virus not only physically but financially so people can report back to work safely.

“If we are dogmatic and maintain it at one meter, we are failing to dance with the virus, and that would make us more vulnerable. Our competitiveness will fall, and that should be taken into consideration,” Dayrit said.

“One meter distance is not the only way to prevent COVID-19 transmission. It is the norm, but it is not dogma. It is not gospel truth.” --KBK, GMA News