Face shield protects wearer vs COVID-19, DOH reiterates

Published June 18, 2021, 6:57 PM

by Analou de Vera

In this photo taken on September 19, 2020, people are seen wearing face shields as they queue up at a public market in Manila. (Ted Aldine /AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

The Department of Health (DOH) has emphasized the importance of wearing a face shield as it offers an additional protection against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“We need to get back to the objective of why we have mandated this face shield from the very start. This has proven to be effective because it covers your whole face, your eyes, your nose, and your mouth and it prevents the droplets from touching/ landing on your face,” said DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire in a television interview on Friday, June 18.

“We saw that there is this benefit and based on evidence it adds more to the protection when coupled with a face mask and physical distancing,” she added.

Vergeire stressed that face shields have helped in lowering down the number of cases in the country.

“Although, I always say that we do not need to compare with other countries– we just need to see the benefit that it is giving us–this face shield. We’ve gone through a lot of increase in the number of cases and these face shields have helped us,” she said.

“Ngayon na tumataas ang mga kaso sa iba’t-ibang lugar sa bansa (Now that cases are rising in various parts of the country), I don’t think it would so much for our citizens to just wear this face shield in an appropriate setting,” she added.

The face shield became a subject of debate recently after Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Palace spokesperson Harry Roque both said that President Duterte has agreed to use the face shield in hospitals only. There is no final decision yet on this matter.

Own family rule

From her viewpoint, Vergeire said that if ever the face shield policy will be eased, she told her family to still wear it in specific settings.

“I told my sons last night, kung sakaling tatanggalin, tayo gagamitin pa rin natin. Kasi magiging voluntary naman iyan (I told my sons last night, I said, if this policy will be removed, we will still use them. Because, of course, that would still be voluntary). I would like my family to be protected,” she added.

Appeal

In a press briefing on Friday, Vergeire said that the DOH will appeal to allow the mandatory use of face shields in indoor settings. This includes hospitals, schools, workplaces, commercial establishments, public transport and terminals, and places of worship, among others.

“Pinag-usapan po iyan and it was resolved that we will appeal to the Office of the President regarding his pronouncement. Mag-aapeal tayo na kung maari ang face shield gamitin pa rin sa mga indoor settings (That was discussed and it was resolved that we will appeal to the Office of the President regarding his pronouncement. We will ask if the face shield can still be used in indoor settings),” she said.

Vergeire likewise said that they will recommend the voluntary wearing of face shields for outdoor settings.

“We will wait for the decision of the President. But while we wait, according to Secretary Roque, we’ll remain in the status quo,” she added.

 
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