Distance doesn’t matter in closed spaces of public transport -- expert

Passengers within the closed spaces of public transportation will still get infected with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) regardless of the distance from each other, a medical expert said on Friday.


“Ang pinaka-importante po talaga dito is yung paggamit ng wastong face mask (What is most important is the proper use of face mask),” Clean Air Philippines Movement Inc. president Dr. Leo Olarte said during an interview with CNN Philippines.

Aside from the proper use of masks and face shields, Olarte said passengers should also observe no talking, no eating, and no drinking while inside public transportation.

Clean Air Philippines has conveyed to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases its support for either the one meter or .75 meters physical distancing between passengers.

The doctor said their endorsement is based on the research conducted by the Duke University School of Medicine on COVID-19 transmissions.

“Kasi kung closed space po yan, the air just rotates around the closed space (Because of the closed space, the air just rotates around the closed space,” Olarte said.

“Even one meter or two meters or even three meters, still there is infection as long as it is within a closed space,” he added.

He said that in Japan, passengers ride the train side by side but they don’t talk and properly use face masks. The same observation is seen in other countries like Singapore, Taiwan, China, and South Korea.

Olarte said a balance should be struck between health and the economy.

“We have to revive our economy kasi marami po ang mamamatay pag gutom po sila (because people will die of hunger). Criminality increases. Poverty also increases,” he said.

“There are many diseases arising from poverty,” the doctor said.