Google report shows how Filipinos practiced social distancing measures
MANILA, Philippines — With the entire Luzon placed under quarantine to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Google has released a report showing how Filipinos responded to the social distancing guidelines issued by the government.
Google said it prepared its COVID-19 Community Mobility Report to help the public as well as health officials “understand responses to social distancing guidance related to COVID-19.”
The company, however, stressed that its report should not be used for medical diagnostic, prognostic, or treatment purposes.
According to Google’s report, Filipinos have reduced their trips to places like restaurants, cafes, shopping centers, theme parks, museums, libraries, and movie theaters by 81 percent.
Filipinos have also cut back on trips to public transport hubs such as subway, bus, and train stations by 82 percent.
The Google report, which was released on March 29, also showed that Filipinos have reduced trips to grocery stores and pharmacy by more than half or by 59 percent.
This trips include going to grocery markets, food warehouses, farmers markets, specialty food shops, drug stores, and pharmacies.
Trips to places like national parks, public beaches, marinas, dog parks, plazas, and public gardens have also been reduced by 59 percent.
Filipinos, meanwhile, have reduced trips to workplaces by 54 percent.
The report from Google also showed an increase of mobility in places of residence which increased by 26 percent.
“These reports show how visits and length of stay at different places change compared to a baseline. We calculate these changes using the same kind of aggregated and anonymized data used to show popular times for places in Google Maps,” Google said in its report.
The report used aggregated, anonymized data to chart movement trends over time by geography, across different high-level categories of places such as retail and recreation, groceries and pharmacies, parks, transit stations, workplaces, and residential, according to Google.
Monitored by Google for the report were mobility trends for the said locations from February 16 to March 29, 2020.
“We calculate these insights based on data from users who have opted-in to Location History for their Google Account, so the data represents a sample of our users. As with all samples, this may or may not represent the exact behavior of a wider population,” Google explained.
It stressed that the report was developed while adhering to stringent privacy protocols and policies.
“People who have Location History turned on can choose to turn it off at any time from their Google Account and can always delete Location History data directly from their Timeline,” the company added.
Google, however, did not indicate the specific locations covered by the report.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier placed the entire Luzon under an enhanced community quarantine as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country continued to increase. The quarantine became effective on March 17.
Under the enhanced community quarantine, which was extended until April 30, mass transport systems and non-essential travel have been suspended.
“We include categories that are useful to social distancing efforts as well as access to essential services,” Google said.
“Location accuracy and the understanding of categorized places varies from region to region, so we don’t recommend using this data to compare changes between countries, or between regions with different characteristics,” it added.
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.