Duterte instructs public to wear, even reuse facemask after sanitizing to halt COVID-19 spread

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 21 2020 02:09 PM | Updated as of Jul 21 2020 06:40 PM

Duterte instructs public to wear, even reuse facemask after sanitizing to halt COVID-19 spread 1
President Rodrigo Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on July 21, 2020. Robinson Niñal Jr., Presidential Photo

MANILA-- President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night stressed the importance of wearing face masks to arrest the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and also shared tips on how to reuse these.

Duterte, in a taped address aired Tuesday morning, claimed masks can be used for up to two times as long as these are sprayed with a disinfectant.

"Maski gamitin mo siguro yan ng dalawang beses okay man, kung isprayhan mo ng alcohol pagtapos, wag yun iniispray mo tapos suot agad," he said.

(Maybe even if you use it twice, it's fine. Just spray alcohol after but don't spray and then immediately wear it after.)

"Pagtapos ng araw, hang it somewhere. Isprayhan mo lang Lysol if you can afford it, yung wala, ibabad mo ng gasolina o diesel, p*t*ng*n**ng COVID yan, di uubra yan diyan," he added.

(At the end of the day, hang it somewhere. Spray it with Lysol if you can afford it. If not, dip it in gasoline or diesel. COVID-19 won't have a chance.)

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The President even claimed gasoline can be used to disinfect hands. Medical experts have earlier warned against the improper use of cleaning products as these can also pose health risks.

When asked about the President’s comments on the use of gasoline, the Department of Health spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire evaded the question and simply said, “Kung wala pong magagamit na malinis na tubig at sabon, inirerekomenda po ng DOH at FDA na gumamit ng alkohol o alcohol-based hand sanitizer.”

(If you do not have access to clean water and soap, the DOH and the Food and Drug Administration recommend the use of alcohol or alcohol-based hand sanitizers.)

Vergeire said the alcohol should be made of 70% ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol while the hand sanitizer should contain at least 60% of those to ensure that it is effective in killing bacteria and viruses.

Duterte made these statements as he highlighted the importance of face masks, saying he would try to buy for those who don't have money to do so.

"Kung wala kayo, I will try to buy as many as I can afford kung kaya ko, ibigay namin 'yan sa inyo libre but wear it," he said.

According to the World Health Organization, only non-medical fabric masks can be reused but these should be washed with water and detergent.

Medical masks should be discarded immediately after use and preferably thrown in a closed bin, the WHO said.

The Philippines on Monday reported 1,521 new confirmed cases of the COVID-19, bringing the country’s total to 68,898.

Duterte said violations of the mandatory wearing of face masks in public places and the observance of physical distancing can be considered a "serious crime" given that the country is seeing an outbreak of infections.

"We have to ask our police to be more strict, hulihin talaga. A little shame would put them on notice forever," the President said in the same speech.

Getting arrested and detained would be a "lesson for all time," he added.

"Sino ba naman gustong mahuli ka? But if you are brought to the police station and detained there, that would give you a lesson for all time," Duterte said.

- With a report from Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News