The Department of Health (DOH) reiterated on Thursday, June 9, that the wearing of face masks is still mandatory in accordance with rules of the Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
"Current IATF protocols allow only for specific instances when masks can be taken off, such as when eating or during certain well-ventilated sports and activities," the DOH said in a statement.
The DOH made the pronouncement amid the decision of the Cebu provincial government that face masks will no longer be required in well-ventilated and open spaces.
The state health agency noted that the face mask policy has contributed to keeping the low number of Covid-19 infections.
"DOH reiterates that minimum public health standards including wearing the best fitting face mask, together with vaccination and boosters have helped keep our Covid-19 case counts low despite the detection of new subvariants," it said.
"Scientific evidence supports the use of best fitting face masks in reducing the transmission not only of Covid-19, but also other infectious and respiratory diseases including Monkeypox, should it reach our country," it added.
The public was also reminded that the Covid-19 pandemic is not yet over.
"Individuals can still catch the virus, most especially for our vulnerable population. Let's be responsible and do our part by wearing the best fitted mask, isolate when sick, double-up protection through vaccination and boosters, and ensure good airflow," the DOH said.
"For those already vaccinated, immunity wanes over time. Get your booster shot as soon as possible," it added.