MANILA — Should the Philippine government scrap COVID-19 restrictions, the lifting of the mask mandate should be the last to go, a health expert said Monday.
According to Dr. Maricar Limpin of Philippine College of Physicians, Filipinos must continue observing health protocols amid a rise in coronavirus infections.
"Kami po ng mga kasamahan namin sa medical profession... paniniwala namin na ang face mask ang pinakahuli nating aalisin if ever na meron ho tayong ire-relax na mga requirements," she told TeleRadyo.
Limpin was reacting to the statement of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. that the government may consider wearing face masks optional if it's clearly safe.
"Sa sinabi ni President Bongbong Marcos very clear naman na kapag safe na safe na," she said. "So ang ibig sabihin po, at this point in time, hindi pa po talaga pupuwede alisin ang face mask."
On Sunday, the Philippines logged 2,018 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily tally in almost 5 months or since Feb. 18.
The number of people currently positive for the coronavirus stood at 13,818. The country's total confirmed COVID-19 cases climbed to 3,718,467.
Amid presence of highly-transmissible COVID-19 variants, Limpin called on the public to get their booster shots.
She noted there was an increase in COVID-19 admissions in some hospitals.
"Wag tayong magpabaya. 'Wag masyadong complacent," Limpin said.
Over 70 million people in the country have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Metro Manila and dozens of other areas will stay under COVID-19 Alert Level 1 until July 15.