The Department of Health (DOH) reminded the public that cloth masks can be reused as long as these are washed regularly—- but they should not use gasoline to disinfect it, as remarked by President Duterte.
“[A] cloth mask can be used for everyday routinary things that we do in the community,” said DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
“Ang ibang mask pwede nating labhan paulit-ulit katulad ng cloth mask at dapat natin labhan every day pagkatapos gamitin [Other masks, we can be washed repeatedly like cloth mask— and we should wash it every day after use],” she added.
Vergeire said that President Duterte might have been joking when he said that gasoline can be used to disinfect face masks.
“Alam niyo naman pag nagsasalita si Presidente baka yung mga jokes niya lang yun, especially for gasoline [You know when the president talks, maybe those are just his jokes, especially for the gasoline (remark)],” she said.
During a televised briefing on Tuesday, July 21, President Duterte suggested using alcohol, lysol, and even gasoline to disinfect face masks before reusing them. Vergeire said that the President was referring to cloth masks.
“Yung surgical mask and N95 mask, (these are for) single use only. Hindi pwede hugasan, may components ang mga mask natin na parang mga certain filtering mechanism na pag hinugasan o binasa, mawawala (ang) effect, di na magiging effective against filtering these viruses [The surgical and N95 masks are for single use only. It cannot be washed because our masks have components like certain filtering mechanisms that when washed, it will no longer be effective against filtering these viruses],” said Vergeire.
“Pagkagamit mo within eight hours, or pag soiled na sya, kailangan itapon o palitan [When you use it within eight hours, or when it is soiled already, it must be discarded or replaced],” she added.
Meanwhile, Vergeire reminded the public to use face masks properly.
“We are reminding the public that it is important to wear masks by covering their mouth and nose, and not just their chin…The mask can do nothing if it is not worn properly,” she said.