Face shields may be removed when outdoors, says DOH official

Published June 16, 2021, 2:34 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 public may remove their face shields when outdoors as the risk of transmission in an open space is “low,” an official of the Department of Health (DOH) said on Wednesday, June 16.

During the Laging Handa press briefing, DOH Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega was asked if workers, such as laborers or couriers, can remove their face shields outdoors as it can affect their work due to buildup of moisture within the shield.

“Alam mo ang face shields kailangan talaga iyan pag nasa mall ka, nasa indoor ka or pag may interaction ka face-to-face inside (You know face shields are really needed when you’re at the mall, indoors or when you have face-to-face interaction indoors),” said Vega.

“Pero kapag nasa outside naman kasi, alam naman natin na the risk of transmission is very low lalung-lalo na kapag naglalakad ka lang sa kalye o magta-trabaho ka kasi maka-affect ‘yung moist nito, so pwede ninyo tanggalin yan (But when you are outside, we know that the risk of transmission is very low, especially when you’re just walking on the street or working, because the moisture (buildup) can also affect (you), so you can remove it),” he added.

“Pero pag pumasok kayo sa mga indoors, kailangan ay may face shield kasi ito ay added protection (But when you are indoors, you need to have a face shield because it is an added protection),” he furthered.

In December, the government has required the public to wear a face shield on top of a face mask when going outside of their homes.

Related story: Use of face shield, mask mandatory outside homes

Early this month, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III also expressed that he is not in favor of the proposal to lift the face shield policy.

The DOH has yet to respond to clarifications regarding Vega’s statement.

Related story: DOH opposes proposal to lift face shield policy

DILG: Health protocols until end of pandemic

Meanwhile, the imposition of the minimum public health standards is expected to be followed by the public until the end of COVID-19 pandemic, said Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya.

“May I just emphasized this to our local government units even if nagbabago ang ating community quarantine status hindi po ibig sabihin nagbabago po ang adherence natin to minimum public health standards (May I just emphasize this to our local government units, even if our community quarantine status changes, it does not mean that our adherence to minimum public health standards must also change),” he said.

“Kahit maluwag na, kahit mag new normal na tayo—hindi po talaga mawawala yung social distancing, face mask, face shield..That is going to be part of the new normal, the vaccination efforts, ventilation, social distancing, lahat po iyan is expected to be enforced until the pandemic is officially over (Even if it’s a lesser restriction, even if we’re under the new normal — we won’t really disregard the social distancing, face mask, face shield..That is going to be part of the new normal, the vaccination efforts, ventilation, social distancing. That is expected to be enforced until the pandemic is officially over),” he added.

 
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