Secretary Carlito Galvez, the chief implementer of the government policy against COVID-19, said there is a higher possibility to acquire COVID-19 inside private cars than in public vehicles.
Galvez made the statement amid discussions on the government’s decision to reduce physical distancing among commuters.
The official believes it would be nice to reduce the distance between passengers on public transport from one meter to 0.75 meters.
“Kasi ang transport po talaga is a vehicle for recovery. Kasi kung wala po talaga yung tinatawag na transportation, we cannot recover po,” Galvez said in a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte and IATF members.
“Ang nakikita po natin based din sa studies din mas delikado ang private cars, based din sa studies na nabasa namin,” he added.
This is said to be the reason why most private vehicles are air-conditioned and do not let out the air.
“Ang pinaka-vulnerable po talaga bahay tsaka sa community kasi tinatanggal natin yung mask when we are eating, when we are talking with our friends. Ang pinaka-vulnerable talaga yung workplace,” said Galvez.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III began the discussion when he mentioned to Duterte the belief of experts that the spread of COVID-19 could accelerate again due to the implementation of reduced physical distancing.
COVID-19 transmission can be higher inside private vehicles – Galvez
“Pinagbasehan po namin dito ‘yung pag-aaral ng ibang eksperto, katulad po sa train ‘yung International Union of Railways, na nakikita na hindi naman ganun kailangan talagang kalaki ang distansya,” said DOTr Undersecretary Artemio Tuazon in an interview on Unang Balita.
(We based it on the study of other experts, such as the train of the International Union of Railways, which sees that it does not have to be that much distance.)
The DOTr cited medical experts noting that the virus transmission rate could still be decreased to 94 to 95 if the passengers would observe safety protocols such as wearing face mask and face shield alongside with regular disinfection of vehicles.