A youth group opposed the decision of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to reduce physical distancing in public vehicles, and urged the agency not to “invent” new health standards.

09142020 LRT ROMERO 2 1024x683 - Youth group urges DOTr to keep one-meter distance policy
(JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN)

The Akbayan Youth said it supports the medical groups and health workers on their call to review the new policy reducing the one-meter distance rule in public transport.

“When infections rise again, it’s our workers, especially health workers, who bear the burden. I personally never heard of a country who openly advocated for violating the one-meter physical distancing rule,” Akbayan Youth chair Dr. RJ Naguit said in a statement.

”Looking at the rising reproductive number in the past few days, we cannot afford to normalize this thinking,” he stressed.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends physical distancing of at least one meter between people in public places to prevent coronavirus infections.

On Monday, the DOTr pushed through with the easing of physical distancing from one meter to 0.75 meters in a bid to increase ridership in public transport.

This will be gradually reduced to 0.5 meters in two weeks and 0.3 meters after a month of implementation.

But Naguit insisted the one-meter distancing rule must stay in public utility vehicles (PUVs) to ensure the safety of commuters.

“Instead of cramming passengers in public transport, allow more jeepneys on the road through service contracting,” he said.

“This way, more jeepney drivers will get their livelihood back while workers on the commute don’t have to risk getting sick,” Naguit pointed out.

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