MANILA — The use of anti-virus masks and full face shields is now mandatory, Malacañang said on Tuesday, as authorities sought to prevent a potential holiday surge of COVID-19 cases.
The public was previously only required to wear face masks and shields in malls and enclosed spaces.
The inter-agency task force leading the country's pandemic response, in its Monday meeting, required the public to wear face masks and shields "whenever they go out of their residences," according to a resolution.
"It is here to stay hanggang tayo po ay mabakunahan at hindi naman po siguro magrereklamo na mahal dahil P5 na lang po ang face shield ngayon," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in an online press briefing.
(It is here to stay until we are vaccinated and perhaps no one will complain that it is expensive because there are face shields that cost only P5.)
ABS-CBN News could not immediately verify if there are face shields that retail for P5.
Asked to clarify if face shields should be worn in the street outside one's home and the common areas of condominiums, Roque said, "As soon as you leave your house, wear face shield."
The penalty for violating this guideline is up to local governments, he said.
Video courtesy of PTV
The Department of Health earlier recommended the wearing of face shields on top of face masks particularly in crowded places as this is seen to lower the risk of virus transmission by as much as 96 percent.
“Sa pagsuot ng face shield ay maiiwasan natin na makuha ang respiratory droplets mula sa ibang tao. Ang face shield po ang magsisilbing karagdagang proteksyon mula sa virus," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Friday.
(In wearing face shields, we avoid transmission of respiratory droplets from other people. The face shield will serve as an additional protection from the virus.)
Face shields can be reused as long as these are disinfected properly, she added.
"Hindi po ito one-time use at ito ay maaaring gamitin ng paulit-ulit basta sisiguraduhin lamang na nadidisinfect ito sa tuwing gagamitin."
(This is not intended for one-time use only and this can be reused as long as it is disinfected before use.)
The Philippines has tallied around 450,000 coronavirus infections, as of Monday. The unabated first wave of infections has prevented the economy from fully reopening.