'Marami pa rin nakakalimot': DOH stresses importance of wearing masks

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 10 2020 11:48 AM

MANILA — The Department of Health on Friday reminded the public to wear face masks, especially since studies show that it can reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission by up to 85 percent.

“Marami pa rin ang nakakalimot sa ating minimum health protocols. Maaaring ang kailangan natin ay hindi ang pagbalik sa Enhanced Community Quarantine kundi maging mas mahigpit sa pagpapatupad at pagsunod sa mga itinakdang health protocol,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a statement.

(Many still forget the minimum health protocols. Perhaps what we need is not to go back to an Enhanced Community Quarantine but stricter implementation of health protocols.)
Vergeire said in previous briefings that she often sees people walking outside with their face masks on their chins or without physical distancing. She said this shows that the implementation of health standards in communities is lax. 

Vergeire said that the effectiveness of such personal protective equipment (PPE) should not be underestimated.

She cited studies showing that wearing masks lowers the chance of transmission by up to 85%, while maintaining a physical distance of one meter reduces the risk of transmission by 80%.

The statement also emphasized the comments of Dr. Edsel Salvana, a member of the DOH Technical Advisory Group and Director of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the University of the Philippines, that the virus is assumed to be airborne in hospital settings due to aerosol-generating procedures and equipment.

“Although more definitive studies are necessary for non-healthcare settings, the public is enjoined to wear masks and practice the minimum health standards to reduce the transmission of the virus,” the DOH said. 

Vergeire emphasized that observing health standards is also for the safety of the individual’s loved ones and the rest of the community.