MANILA - There's still no need to use face masks in the Philippines as protection against the novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV, an official of the Department of Health (DOH) said Wednesday.
DOH spokesperson Eric Domingo said that since there is still no confirmed 2019-nCoV case in the country, the public has no reason to use face masks as a precaution against the new virus.
"Wala naman pong circulating na (2019-nCoV) dito sa atin," he told radio DZMM, adding patients in the country that are being observed for suspected 2019-nCoV have a history of travel to China, where the virus began.
Domingo said he himself still doesn't wear protective outfits for the novel coronavirus.
"Nirereserve po natin yung face mask, lalo na yung N-95, sa mga health workers na nagma-manage nitong mga patients na under investigation," he said.
Domingo, however, recommended the use of face masks for those who are sick to help contain the spread of infectious diseases. For those who will be going to crowded places, face masks may also help prevent infections.
"'We can use face masks to protect ourselves. Ganun din kung tayo ang may sakit, 'di po dapat tayo manghawa ng iba," he said.
The DOH earlier said they were monitoring 23 suspected cases of the coronavirus as 4 others have already tested negative.
The Philippines remains free from the 2019-nCoV that has already claimed at least 132 lives in China and infected nearly 6,000 others.