Required physical distance among commuters back to at least one meter for the meantime, Roque says

(Eagle News)–Commuters will again need to keep at least a one-meter distance from each other when riding public transportation.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Transportation Secretary Art Tugade himself made the announcement during the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases’ meeting on Thursday.

“Pansamantalang isususpinde ang implementasyon ng 0.75 [meter] na distancing sa mga pampublikong transportasyon at ibabalik po ito sa sa one meter,” Roque said.

Earlier, Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte may decide on the rule, which the DOTr started implementing on Monday, Sept. 14, on Thursday.

But Roque said on Thursday the decision would likely be out next week, on Monday.

Under the rule, after two weeks of the 0.75-meter distance among commuters, required physical distancing will be further reduced to 0.5 meters, and to 0.3 meters after another two weeks.

Several Cabinet members including Interior Secretary Eduardo Año and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, and some medical experts, however, expressed their opposition, fearing a spike in COVID-19 cases.

But Tugade and Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the national action plan against COVID-19, and other medical experts led by former Health Secretary Manuel Dayrit earlier  defended the rule, saying commuters were safe for as long as other safety protocols such as the wearing of face masks and face shields, and the ban on talking on digital devices, were implemented.