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DOH: ‘Panic buying’ of N95 masks in NCR depletes supply for Batangas, Cavite

/ 02:15 PM January 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — There’s no need for Metro Manila residents to buy and use N95 masks amid the eruption of Taal Volcano, the Department of Health (DOH) said Tuesday, lamenting that “panic buying” in the nation’s capital region depleted the supply for Batangas and Cavite.

In a press briefing in Malacañang, DOH Assistant Secretary Marie Francia Laxamana said those in Metro Manila and Central Luzon can just use regular surgical masks or damp towels to protect themselves from ashfall.

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“‘Yung paggamit ng mask sa Metro Manila, pwede naman po tayong gumamit lang nung regular surgical mask but it is not really advisable to use that N95,” Laxamana said.

 (People in Metro Manila can use the regular surgical mask but it is not really advisable to use that N95.)

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 “Saka nagkulang talaga sa market na dapat naibigay sa Batangas at Cavite (Supply of N95 masks for Batangas and Cavite residents dwindled). These are the areas that really need the N95. So huwag po tayong magpanic (So please don’t panic),” she added.

Laxamana reported that the health department has already mobilized P2.1 million logistics support for those affected by the eruption, of which, more than P1.2 million has been allocated for N95 masks to be given to residents of high-risk areas.

The health official likewise said that residents can use “improvised” masks such as moistened cloth to avoid inhaling or ingesting volcanic ash.

Thousands have been evacuated after the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHivolcs) raised Alert Level 4 in Taal Volcano, which means that “explosive eruption” could happen in the coming hours or days. The highest is Alert Level 5, which indicates an eruption is taking place.

Taal had been restive for months until it suddenly erupted Sunday afternoon, spewing a giant ash column into the sky in a phreatic or steam-driven episode that occurred in its main crater. 

Edited by KGA

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Responding to appeals for help, the Inquirer is extending its relief to the families affected by the recent eruption of Taal volcano.
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TAGS: ashfall, Batangas, Cavite, DoH, Health, Local news, Metro Manila, N95 mask, Nation, national news, NCR, news, panic buying, Philippine news updates, Public Health, Taal eruption, Taal Volcano, Taal Volcano eruption
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