DTI chief says plastic barriers ineffective, wants them removed

Jekki Pascual, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 24 2022 04:16 PM

Angelo Romeo, 60, installs plastic barriers inside his jeep at a terminal in Mazaraga Street, Tatalon, Quezon City on Monday. Plying the Araneta- Sta. Mesa route, Romeo had to queue for his turn to ferry passengers amid the strict implementation of health protocols under the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File
Angelo Romeo, 60, installs plastic barriers inside his jeep at a terminal in Mazaraga Street, Tatalon, Quezon City on Monday. Plying the Araneta- Sta. Mesa route, Romeo had to queue for his turn to ferry passengers amid the strict implementation of health protocols under the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez on Thursday said he would recommend the removal of acrylic or plastic barriers since they are ineffective in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

During the peak of infections in 2020, restaurants, stores, banks, public transportation and other establishments where individuals interact face-to-face were obliged to put up plastic barriers to lessen the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Health experts however have said that COVID-19 is airborne, Lopez told the media during the anniversary of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines.

"Kahit mas malayo yung tao, walang epekto rin ang acrylic barrier kasi nga pwede mag transmit via the air. Kahit nasa tapat mo, kahit nasa malayo, wala na epekto ang nagagawa ng barrier," said Lopez.

(Even if the distance is far, acrylic barriers have no effect since the virus can be transmitted through the air. Even if its in front of you, or far away, using plastic barriers will have no effect)

The Trade chief also said he supports the easing of mobility restrictions in Metro Manila to Alert Level 1 since most limits have already been relaxed as cases continue to drop.

"Para sa akin symbolic na lang yung Alert Level 1, right now all sectors are open. Kakaiba lang sa operating capacity, but everything outdoor is 100 percent, indoor 80 percent," he said.

(For me easing to Alert Level 1 is just symbolic since all sectors are now open. The only difference is in operating capacity.)

But the public should remain vigilant and observe health protocols even if NCR shifts to Alert Level 1. Wearing masks should still be mandatory as physical distancing will admittedly be harder to implement, he said. 

Metro Manila Mayors on Wednesday said they would recommend the easing of restrictions to Alert Level 1 beginning March.

However, some groups have suggested keeping Alert Level 2 to prevent super spreader events during the campaign season for the May 2022 polls.

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