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Navotas City Mayor Toby Tiangco

Navotas mayor slams reduced physical distancing in public transport

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Mayor Toby Tiangco Sunday opposed the move to reduce physical distancing in public transport vehicles, saying it is inconsistent with the prevailing safety policies.

“Studies of health experts showed that social distancing, along with proper wearing of face mask and handwashing, help prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease. Reducing distancing among commuters to increase ridership is inconsistent with the minimum safety standards that we have been teaching our people for six months now,” Tiangco said.

“Trains, air-conditioned buses, planes and other public transit are closed spaces. The risk of infection in these spaces is higher than outdoors,” he added.

“We have been urging our constituents to practice social distancing even at home and in their workplace. Why would we allow them to forego this safety measure when taking public transportation?” he further said.

Tiangco expressed apprehension that relaxing the physical distance requirement could place people at risk of contracting the disease.

“We have started to flatten the curve. This means what we have been doing is effective. Let us always put the highest priority on the health and safety of our people,” he said.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has approved the proposal of the Economic Development Cluster (EDC) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to increase ridership by reducing the physical distance requirement in mass transit.

From one meter, the required physical distance between commuters will be gradually decreased to .3 meters after four weeks.

“Two meters in open air and 0.75 in closed spaces does not make any sense when studies show that there is a higher risk of transmission in closed spaces,” he concluded.

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