The government has appealed to the public to observe health precautions, including staying at home if possible, wearing of masks, and observing safe distancing from others, after global health authorities recognized the possible airborne transmission of the new coronavirus that causes coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque issued the appeal to reduce coronavirus transmissions as the government left to the wisdom of health experts to discuss how the contagious disease spreads.
“The acknowledgment of the World Health Organization (WHO) that COVID-19 may be passed through air is something we leave to the health experts. We will be fully supportive of ideas based on science and hard data,” Roque said in a statement on Friday.
“While the scientific community is discussing the mode of transmission of COVID-19, we call on our citizens to continue observing minimum public health standards, such as wearing of masks, washing of hands, and practicing social distancing,” he said.
Roque also urged the public, particularly the vulnerable members of the population, to stay indoors as much as possible to avoid getting infected.
“Let us continue to protect people who are considered vulnerable, which include but not limited to our senior citizens, those with co-morbidities, pregnant women by staying at home to save lives,” he said.
“Filipinos demonstrated this before, when more than 8 out of 10 people believe that “stay-at-home measures are worth it to save lives, according to a recent survey. We can do it again so together we can heal and recover as one,” he said.
The World Health Organization has recognized the emerging evidence that coronavirus can spread through tiny particles in the air especially in poorly ventilated buildings. Global health authorities previously said the coronavirus is transmitted through droplets when infected people cough or sneeze.
More than 200 scientists had earlier called on WHO to acknowledge the coronavirus can be airborne and to revise its guidelines to reflect such risk. They have reportedly recommended measures such proper ventilation and airborne infection controls in buildings and avoiding overcrowding in public spaces to limit the spread of the disease.
More than 12.2 million people across the world have been infected while more than 500,000 have died from the coronavirus disease since the outbreak was reported in Wuhan, China last December.
In the Philippines, the cases of coronavirus have soared more than 51,000 even as varying levels of lockdowns have been in place since March. The death toll has reached 1,314 as of July 9.