Reduced physical distancing in public transport needs further study -- expert

A medical expert said the reduced physical distancing in public transportation now being enforced needs to be studied further and implemented gradually.


Edsel Salvaña, an infectious disease doctor at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), said it is still “unknown” whether reduced social distancing, coupled with the wearing of face masks and face shields, will still be effective in preventing COVID-19 transmissions.

“Wala tayong ebidensya na okay lang i less than one-meter natin . Di naman ibig sabihin na di talagang pwedeng gawin, yung problema lang kasi kailangan nating pag aralan (There’s no evidence saying it’s okay to reduce the physical distance between persons to less than one meter. This, however, does not mean we cannot implement such change. The problem is, this still needs to be studied),” Salvaña said in an interview with DZMM Teleradyo,

Salvaña said the reduced physical distancing should be implemented gradually, and not suddenly.

“Kailangan natin pag aralan. Huwag muna natin gawin ng malawakan. Kailangan po talaga unti unti lang rather than biglaan (We need to study this. Let’s not implement it extensively yet. This should be done gradually rather than suddenly)," the medical expert said.

The Department of Transportation had earlier said the current 0.75 physical distancing in public transportation will be further reduced to 0.5 by Sept.28 and 0.3 by Oct. 12.

“Dapat di po biglaan dahil magkakaroon tayo ng problema talaga. Kung magkamali tayo ay marami pong ma didisgrasya (The sudden implementation of this measure could pose problems. If we make a mistake, many will be affected,” he said.

Salvaña reiterated that there is no evidence yet whether or not it’s okay to reduce social distancing measures.

“Di pa rin natin masabi kung anong magiging epekto nito kung di natin susubaybayan at di natin aaralin (We still can't stay what will be the effect of a reduced social distancing measure, so we need to continuously monitor and study),” he said.