Give away free face shields, public health expert urges gov’t

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 07 2021 11:19 PM

MANILA — A public health expert on Thursday said the government should give away free face shields to encourage Filipinos to wear the additional protection against COVID-19.

“Government should just give it for free,” Dr. Tony Leachon told ABS-CBN News in a phone interview.

Leachon explained that a face shield on top of a face mask could serve as additional protection, especially with the threat of a new and more transmissible COVID-19 variant.

Leachon said this in reaction to two surveys showing that there are fewer people wearing face shields compared to other health standards such as wearing of face masks and frequent handwashing.

The OCTA Research Group’s survey conducted December 9 to 13 showed that only 83% of Metro Manila residents wore face shields and only 61% wore it regularly or always.

Meanwhile, a Pulse Asia survey conducted November 23 to December 2 showed that only 20% of Filipinos wore face shields.

Both surveys were done before face shields were made mandatory in December although the Department of Health has been encouraging Filipinos to wear the added protection even before that.

Leachon said economic managers should also refrain from urging people to shop at malls or other crowded places.

“That’s counterintuitive to social distancing if you urge them to go to the mall,” the former government adviser said.

Leachon pointed out that since it will take time before the COVID-19 vaccines arrive in the Philippines, the government should in the meantime spend on other forms of protection such as free face masks and face shields.

He said the government should also find a way to educate more people about the benefits of vaccines, especially with the mentioned surveys showing that majority of respondents are either undecided or unwilling to get anti-COVID shots.

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