The Department of Health (DOH) expressed its support to the decision of President Duterte to maintain the one-meter distance rule in public transportation.
DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the minimum health standards being adopted are all based on scientific evidence.
“Nagkaroon po ng pag aaral na sinasabi nila na kapag ikaw ay nagsuot ng mask [There’s a study where they said that when you wear a mask], you can have about 67 percent protection from being infected,” said Vergeire, noting that this is based on both international and local studies.
“Kapag nagsuot ka ng face shield nadadagdagan pa ng porsyento para ikaw ay maprotektahan, pero kapag sinamahan mo pa ng physical distancing itong dalawang minimum health standards, tumataas hanggang 99 percent ang proteksyon mo sa virus na ito [When you wear a face shield, the percentage of protection increases, and when you add physical distancing to these two minimum health standards, your protection against this virus increases to at least 99 percent],” she added.
The protective measures should be followed to reduce the risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, said the Health official.
“We [should] comply with minimum health standards pero hindi puwedeng paisa-isa, kailangan magkakasama lahat yan, kasama ang paghuhugas ng kamay, nang sa sa gayon— we can be protected from being infected at mas mapababa po ang kasong lumalabas ngayon [We [should] comply with the minimum health standards but all of these should be combined, including hand washing, so that — we can be protected from being infected; and to be able to decrease the number of cases being reported],” said Vergeire.
A group of medical professionals also welcomed the decision of President Duterte.
The Healthcare Professionals Alliance against COVID-19 (HPAAC) said that this move by the government “averted additional COVID-19 transmissions that reduced physical distancing may have caused.”
“We express our gratitude to everyone in the government and the private sector who supported this cause. HPAAC believes that there’s power in solidarity. The broad support from various sectors fuels our passion to continue to stand for evidence-informed policies and evidence-based interventions that continue to protect our fellow Filipinos from this pandemic,” it said.
To note, Health Secretary Francsico Duque III previously said that the reduced physical distancing in public transportation could lead to 686 additional(COVID-19 cases daily, citing the study of HPAAC and the Asian Institute of Management (AIM).