LIST: âSeven commandmentsâ vs coronavirus in PUVs, according to medical experts
MRT-3 commuters at North Ave. Station observe the reduced physical distancing protocol by the Department of Transportation on September 14, 2020.
The STAR/Michael Varcas
LIST: ‘Seven commandments’ vs coronavirus in PUVs, according to medical experts
( - September 17, 2020 - 12:11pm

MANILA, Philippines — A group of medical experts proposed the so-called “seven commandments” to prevent commuters taking public utility vehicles from contracting the novel coronavirus.

This proposal was pitched by an expert panel of doctors led by former Department of Health secretary Manuel Dayrit, who backs the transportation department’s move to ease physical distancing rules in public transport.

In an interview on ANC Thursday, Dayrit said the “seven commandment” for public transport must be implemented as a package to follow the government’s “policy of wanting to open up the economy.”

The so-called “seven commandments” include the following:

Wear proper face masks

Dayrit said those who wear face masks are six times less likely to get infection.

Wear face shields

According to Dayrit, face shields will reduce the risk of infection by three times.

No talking and no eating

“Don’t talk. You will even decrease reduction of risk,” he said. The virus that causes COVID-19 is spread mainly through respiratory droplets.

Adequate ventilation

The former health secretary urged the public to “open the windows every now and then. For short trips, stopping at stations and opening the doors for the air to circulate is recommended.

Frequent and proper disinfection

Bleach must be used to wipe down surfaces. “Public transport officials should ensure that happens,” Dayrit said.

No symptomatic passengers

He said individuals who feel ill and exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 should refrain from riding public vehicles.

Observe appropriate physical distancing

“It is possible to go below one meter. It is not dogma but we have to look at all of the packages in the seven commandments for its proper implementation,” Dayrit said.

But for another group of medical professionals, it is still too early to relax physical distancing controls in public transport.

“It is still too early for it and the number of cases will surely increase and our recovery will slow down if we do this now,” Dr. Antonio Dans, spokesperson of Healthcare Professional Alliance Against COVID-19, said Monday.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said they prefer one-meter distance in public transport to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The physical distance in public transport was shortened to 0.75 meters from the original one-meter gap Monday to increase passenger load. It would then be adjusted to 0.5 meter by September 28 and to 0.3 meter by October 12.

President Rodrigo Duterte would have the final say on the matter. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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