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So You Have To Go Back To The Office; Here's How You Can Stay Safe During Your Commute

Easing physical distancing for commuters may be too early, frontliners say.
Filipino commuters practicing social distancing in LRT station
PHOTO: JEROME ASCAÑO
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The space between commuters in public transport was reduced on September 14, which is "too early," according to a group of medical frontliners who called for a timeout last month.

As they hold dialogues with transport authorities, they also advised the public on how they could stay safe when riding buses and trains. "'Pag titingnan natin ang curve ng pandemic na ito, masyadong maaga pa. Malamang na dumami lalo ang kaso at bumagal ang recovery natin kung gagawin natin ito," said Dr. Tony Dans of the Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19.

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According to Dr. Dans, commuters could stay safe by observing the following:

  1. If you're feeling sick, stay at home. Isolate yourself.
  2. Wear a face shield and a face mask.
  3. Wash your hands.
  4. If the train or bus is not packed, continue observing a one-meter distance from other commuters. If possible, stay farther away.
  5. If you must cough or sneeze, cover your mouth with the back of your elbows, not your palms.
  6. If you really have to go out of the house and take public transport, avoid the rush hour. Pick dead hours.
  7. Don't talk.
  8. If you can, open the window.
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Filipino man waiting to enter the LRT
JEROME ASCAÑO

The call of the doctors, nurses, and medical workers in early August led to the restoration of MECQ or strict quarantine for 15 days in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces, affecting some 23 million people.

Government heard the frontliners' call and are regularly coordinating with HPAAC, Dr. Dans said. "Madaming magandang nangyari. Madaming good news." Addressing the public, he said those who have COVID-19 symptoms such as cough and colds should stay at home. "Kayo po ang first line of defense laban sa pandemic na 'to, kayo ang tunay na frontliner."

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The MECQ was downgraded to a GCQ on August 19, which was recently extended until September 30. Officials credited the MECQ for the slowdown in infections. For the first time since quarantines were imposed last March, the Philippines is on track to flatten the curve.

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