Duterte supports face shield use only in hospitals; IATF to review policy

Published June 17, 2021, 9:30 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The proposed removal of face shields especially when outdoors will be high on the agenda of the meeting of the government’s pandemic task force on Thursday, June 17.

Health workers administer coronavirus vaccines to people belonging to A5 priority group at the Baseco compound in Manila on June 16, 2021 (Ali Vicoy/Manila Bulletin)

According to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) is scheduled to meet Thursday to discuss matters including the proposal to ease the face shield policy. A decision on the matter will be announced after the meeting.

Nograles made the statement after President Duterte has expressed support for the use of these protective shields only in the hospitals. The President’s stance on relaxing the face shield policy was relayed by Senate President Vicente Sotto III in his latest post on Twitter Thursday morning.

“May IATF kami mamaya. Pag-uusapan namin. If there is any announcement sa bagong protocol, ilalabas namin (There is an IATF meeting later. We will discuss it. If there is any announcement about a new protocol, we will release it),” Nograles said over Teleradyo Thursday when asked to confirm the President’s position on possibly ending the use of face shields.

Sotto earlier bared the President’s preference for the use of face shields only in hospitals. The President’s position prompted the Senate leader to appeal to the Department of Health to allow people to start ditching the shields, especially when going out of their houses.

“Last night, the President agreed that face shields should only be used in hospitals. Allowed us to remove ours! Attn DOH!” Sotto tweeted.

Back in December 2020, the task force required the public to wear face shields apart from masks as an additional layer of protection against coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Local government units later issued ordinances imposing penalties against those violating such health regulations.

Recently, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has opposed the proposed lifting of the face shield policy, insisting that such protective gear still lessens the risk of getting infected.