DOH opposes proposal to lift face shield policy

Published June 3, 2021, 1:03 PM

by Analou de Vera

In this photo taken on September 19, 2020, people wearing face shields queue up at a public market in Manila. (Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

The Department of Health (DOH) is not in favor of the proposal to lift the policy that requires people to wear face shields when stepping out of their homes.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III made the statement after Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso made an appeal to stop the mandatory face shield policy.

“Okay [ang] mungkahi ni Mayor Isko kung malaki na ang vaccination coverage natin. Hindi pa pwedeng tanggalin ang face shield policy for now when our two dose vaccination coverage is still low due to inadequate supply (Mayor Isko’s suggestion is okay if our vaccination coverage is already on a large scale. The face shield policy cannot be removed for now when our two dose vaccination coverage is still low due to inadequate supply),” said the Health chief in a text message.

He also reiterated that the use of face shield is science-based.

“Also there are many scientific studies showing that face shields in combination with face masks and more than one meter social distancing provide a greater than 95 percent protection!,” he added.

It is not yet time to lift the policy as some areas in the country are seeing a spike in cases, said Dr. Alethea de Guzman of the DOH-Epidemiology bureau.

“Alam ko hindi madali, hindi convenient yung naka face shield ka—pero i think ito ay isa sa kailangan ngayon (I know it’s not easy, it’s not convenient to wear a face shield — but I think this is one of the things that is needed right now). Let’s adhere and comply because these are necessary to protect ourselves,” she said during an online forum on Thursday, June 3.

De Guzman said that it is difficult to compare the Philippines with other countries.

“Our situation is different from other countries…Tayo, kailangan muna mapababa yung kaso, yung transmission rate na sinasabi natin. At the same time, we want to further increase yung (vaccine) coverage natin, especially in our priority groups: healthcare workers, senior citizens, and those with comorbidities (Our situation is different from other countries … We need to lower first our transmission rate. At the same time, we want to further increase our (vaccine) coverage, especially in our priority groups: healthcare workers, senior citizens, and those with comorbidities),” she said.

“After we achieve certain milestones, then we can review kung meron na ba tayong pwedeng i-revise sa ating current minimum public health standards (After we achieve certain milestones, then we can review whether we can revise our current minimum public health standards),” she added.

 
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