The use of a face shield remains voluntary for the moment: Palace
MANILA – Wearing face shields over face masks is voluntary but may be required by business establishments and employers, MalacaÃ±ang said Wednesday.
Acting Presidential Spokesman Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles made the remark after President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday he recognized that face shields will provide an extra layer of protection against 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid -19) and new variants, such as the Omicron.
However, Duterte said he would leave it to the Interagency Working Group for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to decide whether to re-impose the policy on the use of face shields.
âAt the moment, the question is whether there will be any changes? I do not know. Let’s wait. Kasi can (There is) Omicron, we’ll have to see where it goes. We will have to follow the evolution. But right now, (the) status quo is voluntary siya (it’s voluntary), âNograles said in an interview with the ANC’s Headstart.
Currently, face shields are voluntary in areas below Alert Levels 1 to 3.
In areas below Alert Level 4, the face mask policy is left to the discretion of Local Government Units (LGUs) and private institutions.
The mandatory face mask policy remains in areas below Alert Level 5 and in areas that are closed, overcrowded and where close contact (3C) is likely to occur, such as hospitals and other medical facilities.
âBased on our latest IATF resolutions, employers and establishments may require face shields for the protection of clients, or their customers or their employees,â Nograles said.
While the IATF-EID has yet to decide on the policy for the use of face shields, it has reminded the public that face masks are still needed and will remain the norm.
âInstitutions can mandate it (face shields). But it is certain that (in) health care establishments it is compulsory. Pero’yung face mask, mandatory ‘Yes (But the use of face masks remains compulsory), âhe added.
The Philippines has yet to detect a case of the new, highly mutated variant of the Omicron coronavirus, but has imposed more stringent travel restrictions to prevent its entry into the country.
In a meeting with officials from the National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 and medical experts in MalacaÃ±ang, Duterte urged the IATF to âsettleâ the reimposition of the face mask rule.
“I would suggest that the working group make a statement – whether or not it really is – ‘pag magdating itong Omicron na ‘to (if the Omicron arrives) since we have a data depth dito sa ano (of that). In the meantime, it’s caution or just dictate (that) maybe we’ll restrict it again, âDuterte said.
On Tuesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said the use of face shields was not mandatory despite the threat posed by the Omicron variant of Covid-19.
âThe WHO has said from the start that this virus is not airborne. It is transmission through close contact and that is why we insist that what is important is physical distancing, face shielding and hand hygiene. If we can guarantee that these minimum requirements, these minimum public health measures are met (with), we can guarantee that people do not congregate in closed places, the requirement for face shields, probably at this point, n is probably not mandatory. Because, as I said, we are still researching and understanding the transmission dynamics of the Omicron variant, âsaid WHO Country Representative Dr Rabindra Abeyasinghe. (ANP)