Optional face masks outdoors possible when all vulnerable protected: DOH

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 12 2022 02:58 PM | Updated as of Jul 12 2022 03:28 PM

People wearing face masks as a precaution against COVID-19 fall in line at the Monumento bus stop in Caloocan on January 3, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
People wearing face masks as a precaution against COVID-19 fall in line at the Monumento bus stop in Caloocan on January 3, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Government will consider making outdoor face mask use optional once all vulnerable sectors are protected, the Department of Health said Tuesday.

The target vaccination rates will be announced in the "coming days" following the approval of the Office of the President, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

"Para marating natin itong sinasabing pwede nating luwagan ang pagsusuot ng face masks kapag tayo ay nasa labas...pagka tayo ay tumaas na ang ating wall of immunity," she told reporters.

(In able for us to reach this goal of relaxing face mask mandate outdoors...we need to increase our wall of immunity.)

"When you say you have protected your population, you have protected the priority population, which is the vulnerable."

As of Monday, the Philippines has fully vaccinated 71 million individuals, of whom 15.3 million have received an additional dose, Vergeire said.

Some 954,000 health workers, elderly, and immunocompromised persons have received a second booster dose, Vergeire added.

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, who recently tested positive for COVID-19, earlier said his administration might consider making wearing face masks optional when it was already safe to do so, just as he vowed to no longer enforce strict and wide lockdowns. 

Cebu province last month allowed the optional wearing of face masks outdoors, defying national COVID-19 response guidelines.

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 Video courtesy of the Department of Health