Health workers bat for active transport to end COVID pandemic

Published November 24, 2021, 11:31 AM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

A group of healthcare workers has called on the public to engage in active transport to help combat the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in time with the celebration of the National Bicycle Day.

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“Active transport and open spaces are key to ending the pandemic,” Dr. Antonio Dans, convenor of the Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC) said on Wednesday, Nov. 24.

To celebrate the National Bicycle Day on Sunday, Nov. 28, HPAAC urged the public to ride their bicycles on national bike lanes from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., while local groups were encouraged to initiate their own bike activities.

The group, which includes over 160 medical groups, has been pushing for transport safety in its dialogues with government agencies since convening in August 2020.

According to HPAAC, cycling is a transport option that reduces the risk of COVID-19 transmission, compared to crowded and enclosed public transport vehicles.

“Cycling will lessen the crowds on public transport and lessen the cars on the road, easing traffic. [It] is efficient and shortens travel time, which will result in more productive hours for workers and also allows physical distancing, unlike most forms of public transport,” Dans said.

“Promoting active lifestyles through cycling will ease the burden of lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension, on our health systems,” he added.

While Dans welcomed the investments made for active transport infrastructure since the start of the pandemic, he emphasized the need to protect these active transport lanes.

“Biking in unprotected lanes can be life-threatening especially during rush hour. We hope we can continue to make these new ways of living with the virus more accessible to the public,” he said.

“The pandemic gives us an opportunity to transform our transport system into one that is pro-health, pro-environment and pro-poor,” Dans noted.

 
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