President Duterte said he was “constrained” to keep the wearing of face shields mandatory both indoors and outdoors to prevent a disaster that may be caused by the Delta variant of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
President Duterte made the statement after the Department of Health (DOH) reported that four more individuals got infected by the Delta variant, bringing the total number of infections to 17 on June 21.
In his weekly pre-recorded public address, President Duterte apologized for causing confusion by discussing the possibility of easing the rule on shield-wearing in public.
The President said he was just “shooting the breeze” but never “said with finality that we will do away with the face shield.”
“I will apologize to the Filipino people. But with the kind of aggressive infection that poses a very grave danger to— It (wearing of face shield) is a small inconvenience,” he said.
“That is a very small price to pay rather than gamble doing away with it and courting disaster,” he added.
According to the President, the Philippines cannot afford a second wave of coronavirus infections since the economy has not yet recovered from the effects of the pandemic.
“I’m constrained to go back to the old practice because of the threat posed by the new variant (Delta). I cannot afford to place the nation, the national interest of the Republic, [in danger] by just sometimes adopting this and being lenient,” Duterte said.
“It would be disastrous for this country. That is why the stricter you are, the better,” he added.
On Thursday last week, Malacañang confirmed that President Duterte preferred that people only be required to wear face shields in hospitals. However, the government’s pandemic task force was opposed to easing the rules on wearing face shields and appealed that the rule is kept, especially indoors.
In his press briefing on the afternoon of June 21, Roque said that the wearing of face shields is no longer required outdoors, saying the government’s pandemic task force only appealed that it be required indoors.