President Rodrigo Duterte has reminded the public to continue wearing face shields saying it could provide “premium” protection against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
“You have to continue using it (face shield). Mabuti na lang iyan (That’s good). I mean, [you will have] a little amount of protection in addition to the mask which will be provided by the face shield,” Duterte said in a taped Talk to the People delivered Friday night but aired Saturday morning.
Duterte issued the statement amid debates on the effectiveness of face shields in preventing the spread of Covid-19.
While wearing a face shield could not provide “complete” protection, it could still control Covid-19 transmission in the country, Duterte said.
“Mas makatulong ito kaysa tanggalin natin (It will help us more because if you drop its use), you will remove premium of protection. [You will have] not really complete protection but the premium that it will provide by wearing face shield,” he said.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on Dec. 14, 2020 issued Resolution 88, mandating all persons to wear full-coverage face shields on top of face masks in all public spaces to reduce the transmission of Covid-19.
However, Duterte in June this year ordered the public to wear face shields in hospitals.
Duterte later decided to keep the IATF-EID’s policy on the mandatory use of face shields in public places, considering the presence of the more transmissible Delta coronavirus variant.
A recent study by the Lancet, a leading international medical journal, found that wearing a mask can decrease the risk of catching Covid-19 by 78 percent.
The result of the study also showed that the risk of transmission is cut by 85 percent if a face shield is worn in addition to the mask.
On Sept. 7, the World Health Organization (WHO) said it is untimely to talk about changing the current policy on the use of face shields in the Philippines, given the spike in Covid-19 infections.
The WHO said it is also reviewing the Philippines’ experience in wearing face shields as an additional layer of protection against Covid-19, as it is observed that its use has delayed the spread of the Delta variant in the country. (PNA)