Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has decided to retain the one-metre (three-foot) social distancing requirement on public transport to reduce coronavirus infections, rejecting moves to reduce it to 30 centimetres, according to his spokesman.

Health experts have warned that reducing gaps between passengers in trains, buses and jeepneys could result in a surge of infections in the Philippines, which has the most confirmed COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia.

Duterte studied recommendations and decided to retain the one-metre distancing requirement, including a ban on eating and speaking in public transport, presidential spokesman Harry Roque told state-run PTV4 network. Passengers still need to wear face shields and masks at all times, he added.



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