Filipinos in Luzon required to wear face masks during lockdown

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 02 2020 10:02 AM | Updated as of Apr 02 2020 11:46 AM

MANILA (UPDATE)- Filipinos covered by the month-long lockdown in Luzon will be required to wear face masks whenever they leave their homes as part of the latest control measure of the government to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus disease, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Thursday.

All residents of Luzon are required to wear any facial protective gear that can "effectively lessen" the spread of COVID-19 whenever they leave their homes, Nograles said.

If there are no available surgical masks, Nograles said the public can wear earloop masks, indigenous, reusable or do-it-yourself masks, face shields, handkerchiefs, or any other protective gear.

"Kung kailangan po nating lumabas ng bahay, kailangan po mag mask. Kahit improvised ito o panyo, basta po may pangtakip tayo ng bibig at ilong," Nograles said in a televised press briefing.

(If you need to leave your home, you need to wear a mask even if it's improvised or just a handkerchief. What's important is you cover your nose and mouth.)

Local government units meanwhile are asked to craft local ordinances in support of the national government's latest directive, and impose penalties for violators if necessary.

The supply of facemasks is dwindling worldwide as the COVID-19 pandemic persists.

Luzon was placed on lockdown from March 17 until April 12 as people were told to stay at home to control the spread of COVID-19.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Philippines has confirmed a total of 2,311 cases of COVID-19, with 96 fatalities, and 50 recoveries.