Duque wants COVID-19 face mask rule retained

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III (Screengrab from Senate livestream)

MANILA, Philippines — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Monday said he will convince the next administration to retain the COVID-19 mask rule.

While it would be up to the next administration to set up their own COVID-19 protocols, Duque said there is a need to “build on the gains” of the outgoing administration in terms of the pandemic response.


“We will still convince them [next administration] to continue on and build on the gains of this administration,” Duque said in an ANC interview.

 As far as the Duterte administration is concerned, Duque said the face mask requirement will stay until the President’s last day in office.


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According to Duque, Filipinos’ compliance with the wearing of masks “synergizes” the government’s efforts in curbing the spread of the virus.

This was among the reasons Duque attributed to the Philippines’ increased ranking in Nikkei Asia’s latest COVID-19 Recovery Index, where the country climbed to the 33rd spot among 120 nations.

“It really synergizes or compliments our vaccination to curb the transmission. That’s why it is no wonder that our transmission rate is very low,” Duque said.

He likewise cited the government’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

He noted that 77 percent of the country’s target population of around 90 million have completed their primary vaccination series.


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