Gov’t to promote local production of face shields

Published August 5, 2020, 1:40 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The government is planning to promote the local production of face shields that will provide people with an extra layer of protection from the coronavirus infection.

A vendor holds his DIY face shield sold for 70 pesos as a precautionary measure against COVID 19 at Paco, Manila.

According to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, wearing a face shield can provide 99 percent protection from virus exposure if accompanied by other measures like the wearing of face mask, practicing one-meter distancing from others, and washing hands regularly.

A face shield, often used in healthcare settings, is a curved clear plastic barrier that provides full face protection.

“Ang gusto natin magkaroon tayo ng local production of masks talaga ngayon. Ganun din sa face shields. (We want to have a local production of masks as well as face shields). We are trying to get whatever government agency that can come up and help in the production of face shields,”

Nograles said during the “Kapihan sa Manila Bay” forum Wednesday. 

He said the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) may also produce easy do-it-yourself modules for the creation of face shields. 

He said materials on step-by-step processes can be posted online so people can learn how to make their own protective gear.

“Put it in the internet, popularize it, propagate the step-by-step process, information dissemination sa ating mga kababayan so they can also make the  face shields, apart from ensuring na mayroon tayong supply ng face shields dito sa ating mga local markets din (We can put it in the internet, popularize it, propagate the step-by-step process, implement information dissemination so our countryman can make their own face shields, apart from ensuring we have a supply of face shields in the local markets),” he said.

Nograles said the government has received advice from experts about implementing the “combination” of face shields, masks, and social distancing to reduce virus exposure especially whenever people step out of their homes.

“Ang bagong report nga sa amin ng mga experts, if wearing a face shield together with a face mask plus social distancing equals 99 percent protection, susugal ka pa ba ng less than that? (Based on the latest report we got from experts, if wearing a face shield together with a face mask plus social distancing equals 99 percent protection, will you gamble for less than that?),” he said.

“Of course, ang 100 percent protection  is to stay at home. Pero hindi naman yung mga kailangan lumabas, yung magtatrabaho. Again, 99 percent is better than lesser percentage (Of course, to get 100 percent protection is stay at home. But that’s not possible for those who need to go out, those who will work. Again, 99 percent is better than a lesser percentage),” said Nograles, also co-chairman of the Inter Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF).

Even as he encouraged people to follow the government’s health precautions, Nograles admitted that the coronavirus infection is a “matter of chances.” “The more exposure you have, the more chances you’ll have the infection. Let’s remember that,” he said.

The government recently recommended to the public to start wearing face shields especially when they are in low ventilation settings like public transportation.  The use of face shields to complement the wearing of masks has been discussed during a recent IATF meeting.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque had earlier said that the use of face shields will be part of the four minimum health standards that are being encouraged to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The three other health protocols are the wearing of face masks, washing of hands, and the practice of social distancing.

“Studies have shown that wearing face shields, in addition to wearing masks, and physical distancing, would further reduce virus transmission in low ventilation settings,” he said.