Health Secretary Francisco Duque doesn’t support calls for the removal of the nationwide requirement of wearing face shields in public places as the mandate is based on science.
“There are many scientific studies showing that face shields in combination with face masks and more than 1-meter social distancing provide greater than 95 percent protection!” Duque told ABS-CBN News in a text message following Manila Mayor Isko Moreno publicly stating that face shields should only be required in hospitals.
Moreno told ANC’s Headstart that face shields only hurt the pockets of the less fortunate.
“Gastos ‘yan sa utaw. Sa atin, ako siguro medyo maganda ang suweldo ko, hindi ko masyadong nararamdaman ‘yan pero yung ordinaryong manggagawa, medyo ano yan,” he told ANC’s Headstart.
People have also complained about having difficulty breathing when they wear it.
“I don’t know if they are still intact with the people, kung talagang nararamdaman pa nila ‘yung kababayan nila. In the case of the City of Manila, maraming nahihirapan… Paano ‘yung may mga hika? ‘Yung may mga respiratory problem?” he added.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III concurred with Moreno’s call.
“Not proven. No country in the world does it,” Sotto told the media.
OCTA Research fellow Ranjit Rye on Friday said the effectiveness of face shields needs to be studied more.
“It’s a continuing discussion in OCTA Research. Some of our fellows have also raised issues with the efficacy and practicality of using face shields,” Rye said in a webinar headed by the Cardinal Santos Medical Center.
“More work and data is needed to assess this particular intervention, this particular PPE (personal protective equipment) so we haven’t decided on a position (yet),” he added,
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire meanwhile said changes in health protocols may happen such as easing quarantine and travel restrictions if the country achieves vaccination objectives.
“Ngayon pong mababa pa lang ang coverage natin sa immunization, atin pong pagpasensyahan muna,” she said in a briefing.
On Friday, she said the DOH is “open” to “dialogues in improving our health policies.”
She noted that coronavirus cases have “plateaued” after infections have been increasing outside the NCR Plus bubble.
“With this trend, we cannot afford to relax the policies on personal preventive measures. We can consider loosening up these measures when we see a continuous significant decline in our daily COVID-19 cases and/or once a significant portion of our population, especially the vulnerable sectors, the elderly and then persons with comorbidities, have been fully vaccinated,” she said.
Vergeire brought up studies that conclude the use of face shields and face masks provide “better protection” from COVID-19.
Cyclists however are no longer required to wear face shields “due to its potential safety risks when used during active transport,” according to the health department in April.