Mandatory wearing of face shield mulled

Published August 2, 2020, 10:00 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Wearing of face shield in public places maybe made mandatory as this device is proven to be more effective in controlling the spread of the virus, according to Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez.

Lopez said this as more business establishments were allowed to open starting August 1 and to help address the concerns of health workers, who called for the return of Metro Manila to the Enhanced Community Quarantine in light of the rising COVID cases in the National Capital Region (NCR).

“We are also adding face shield as a requirement to strengthen the protection up to 99 percent against transmission.  This is encouraged now and may be made mandatory in public places and transport, in the near future,” Lopez said.

According to Lopez, wearing of face shields is being discussed at the Inter Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases. Aside from DIY face shields, Lopez said a lot of livehood groups are already producing this medical device.

Lopez defended the need for NCR, which contributes 70 percent of the country’s total economy, to stay under the more relaxed GCQ level to save businesses and livelihoods while balancing lives and health of all Filipinos.  

“They (medical health workers) need more support in all aspects — health care workforce, relievers, beds, facilities, equipment, expanding testing capacities, tracing etc. as well as living quarters for frontliners, logistics, and other needs. We should find ways,” he said.  

However, he stood firm that NCR “cannot go back to ECQ” stressing a return to ECQ is “  Damaging  to peoples health, with unemployment and poverty affecting health and wellness and nutrition intake. It will affect long term health and capacity to learn for children.”  

With no vaccine yet, Lopez said Filipinos “Need to manage and live with the virus which is here to stay. Balancing health and economy.”

Instead of massive lockdowns like the entire city or region, Lopez favored granular lockdowns (building, street, barangay), massive tracing, testing, isolation, treatment and stricter compliance to health protocol in transportation and business establishments. 

“We have been very careful in reopening sectors focusing on those with highest impact on livelihood and micro SMEs.  Also we made it clear to have very strict compliance to health protocols, otherwise we close the stores until they correct their deficiencies,” he concluded.