Healthcare professionals in the country opposed the move of the Transportation department to relax physical distancing in public transport as it is too early to do so.
The Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC), an alliance of more than 160 member organizations of healthcare professionals and health workers working together to address the pandemic, stated in an online press briefing Monday that they do not support the easing of physical distancing in public transport.
“HPAAC does not support the said policy and the alliance continues to engage with the government to reconsider,” the medical experts said.
Dr. Antonio Dans, an internist, evidence-based medicine practitioner and clinical epidemiologist from HPAAC, underscored that while sooner or later the government has to reduce physical distancing for public utility vehicles to accommodate more passengers, they believe that implementing the policy now is too early and may cause a rise in cases.
“Tutol po ang HPAAC sa pag-relax ng social distancing measures in public utility vehicles dahil sa tingin namin maaga pa masyado. Sa tingin namin ‘pag titingnan natin ang curve ng pandemic na to, masyadong maaga pa. At malamang na dumami lalo ang kaso at bumagal ang recovery natin kung gawin natin ‘to ngayon (HPAAC is against the relaxing of social distancing measures in public utility vehicles because we think it’s still too early. Looking at the curve of the pandemic, we think it’s too early and most likely cases will increase and our recovery will slow down if we implement this now),” Dans said.
Recognizing that relaxing social distancing is also about the recovery of the economy, Dans said they continue to engage with the government and key stakeholders to address the issue and provide Filipinos protection while they continue with their livelihood.
The organization also appealed to the public to not let their guard down as the fight against the virus continues, noting that a whole-of-society approach to manage COVID-19 is needed so Filipinos can safely enjoy Christmas with their families.
“Despite these small wins, hindi pa tapos ang kuwento, kailangan ituloy natin ang laban. There is still much work to be done,” Dans said.
“The Philippines is the only country in the world that celebrates Christmas as early as September. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, there’s this fear that we might not be able to even see our loved ones during this most-awaited celebration. This is why we call on the government and the Filipino people to join hands to effectively manage the spread of COVID-19 with the dream of having a Christmas where we all can be united safely with our families,” Dans said.
HPAAC is a non-profit, non-partisan, and non-stock alliance of healthcare professionals and health workers which was formed in order to unify the voices of the medical professionals with the goal of producing evidence-based proposals to beat COVID-19.