Face shields might remain a requirement for Filipinos, at least in the foreseeable future.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said during a virtual press briefing Thursday, Sept. 2 that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has no plans of revisiting its directive on the use of face shields in the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The IATF position was reiterated despite the growing questions regarding its usefulness, as well as corruption allegations pertaining to its procurement.
“Sa ngayon po wala (As of now there are no plans),” Roque said.
“Pero (But) I understand that even the WHO [World Health Organization] will render an expert opinion on whether or not the use of face shields is justified. So antayin po natin yung opinyon ng WHO (So let’s just wait for the opinion of WHO),” he said.
Face shields, along with face masks, have become ubiquitous in the Philippines eversince the local emergence of COVID-19 last year.
For the past few weeks, Malacañang has been grappling with allegations of purchasing overpriced medical supplies in connection with the pandemic. President Duterte has denied these claims on more than one occasion during his late night “Talk to the People” public briefings.
Asked about the face shields’ alleged link to corrupt practices, Roque said: “Wala pong relasyon yan, ‘no. Ang pagsusuot po ng face shields, nakikita niyo naman sa ating presidential press briefings, ay sang-ayon po sa mga opinyon ng eksperto (There’s no relation between them. The wearing of face shields, as you’ve seen in our presidential press briefings, is based on the opinion of experts).”
Roque said the next IATF meeting will take place on Friday, Sept. 3.