Philippines Eases Distancing Rules, Allows More Airplane Passengers

The Philippines has eased distancing rules in public transport, allowing trains and planes to have more passengers amid the region’s worst coronavirus outbreak, the Department of Transportation said.

The agency and economic managers’ proposal to increase public transport ridership and accommodate more people going back to work was approved by the government’s coronavirus task force, Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade said in a statement Friday.

The transport department delayed a scheduled briefing on the decision pending a meeting requested by health officials.

The 1-meter physical distancing rule in trains can be gradually eased to a third of a meter in a month as long as commuters wear face masks and face shields, the agency said. Standing commuters will be allowed in buses.

The easing is in line with economic officials’ push to reopen the economy more, even with the highest coronavirus cases in Southeast Asia, with nearly 249,000 infections as of Thursday.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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