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Shhh... Don't Use Your Phone in Public Transport to Avoid COVID: Task Force

'Risk management' is the goal.
by Joel Guinto
Sep 14, 2020
Photo/s: MRT-3 - DOTR

There should be no talking, no eating and no mobile phone use when riding public transport, the chief implementer of the government's COVID-19 response said Monday in defense of eased physical distancing rules which is being done with risk management in mind.

The Inter-Agency Task Force will meet Tuesday to discuss arguments for and against the reduction of the minimum one meter distance between commuters. President Rodrigo Duterte told his Cabinet to give him a visual of their recommendations.

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"It's a matter of risk management," said Sec. Carlito Galvez. "Ang importante, no talking, no droplet, no using of cellphone."

"Transport is a vehicle for recovery. Kung wala yung vehicles, at yung tinatawag po natin na transportation we cannot recover," he said.

Air-conditioned private cars are at higher risk, Galvez said. Canteens and work places where people talk to each other are the most vulnerable, he said.

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Earlier Monday, the Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 said reduced physical distancing could lead to higher infections. Citing the group's simulations, Health Sec. Francisco Duque said there could be an additional 686 cases per day. It will be considered in Tuesday's meeting.

The HPAAC gave the following recommendations on reducing COVID-19 risk when using public transport:

  • If you're feeling sick, stay at home. Isolate yourself
  • Wear a face shied and a face mask.
  • Wash your hands 
  • If the train or bus is not packed, continue observing a one-meter distance from other commuters. If possible, stay farther away.
  • If you must cough or sneeze, cover your mouth with the back of your elbows, not your palms.
  • If you really have to go out of the house and take public transport, avoid the rush hour. Pick dead hours.
  • Don't talk. Don't sing inside public transport.
  • If you can, open the window.
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