MANILA, Philippines — More data and more work are still needed whether or not the government can already do away with the mandatory face shield policy, the Octa research group said Friday, saying they still have no position on the matter.
Ranjit Singhe Rye of the research team said that the group is having a “very healthy” discussion over the issue, with some of the fellows raising issues on the efficacy and practicality of face shields.
“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 said in a webinar.
For his part, Dr. Michael Tee, a fellow researcher of Octa, said that face shields add another layer of protection against COVID-19 transmission, especially that the country has only vaccinated less than 10% of the population against severe respiratory disease.
“Maraming study, either or, pero ‘yun ‘yung proteksyon para hindi ka mahawa at para hindi ka makahawa so might as well,” he said.
(There are many studies, either or. But that serves as a protection for you not to get COVID-19.)
However, he also acknowledged practical issues of face shields, including the possible negative impact it may cause on the environment.
“Yes, it’s a burden. There are other considerations like environmental concerns, we have so much environmental waste, disposing of this is going to be a problem,” he said
“Kung mababawasan natin ang dami ng magkaasakit at dami ng mga makakahawa pa, hintayin na lang natin na mabakunahan tayo at respetuhin na lang natin ang magiging polisiya ng IATF,” he added.
(However, if we can reduce the number of sick people and infectious people, we should wait to be vaccinated and respect the policies of the IATF.)
The idea to scrap the policy of requiring Filipinos to wear face shields outside their homes stemmed from Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, saying that only the Philippines is requiring this.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III opposed Moreno’s proposal as the country still has a low COVID-19 vaccination coverage rate.
For his part, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said face shields still offer some protection against COVID-19, saying that people who wear face masks, face shields, and observe physical distancing are “almost equivalent” to the protection given by a vaccine.
The national government started requiring the public to wear face shields on top of face masks at all times when going outside of their residences in December last year.
READ: Time to drop those face shields?
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.