DOH stresses on health protocols after CDC says COVID-19 can be airborne
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday stressed on the importance of practicing minimum health protocols to beat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a guidance saying the virus that causes the disease can be airborne and could linger in the air.
In a Laging Handa online press briefing, DOH Undersecretary and spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire, however, clarified that the new CDC guidance said the SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, can spread through the air “in specific settings.”
“At ‘yan pa lang po mula umpisa ang bigay natin na guidelines at rekomendasyon galing sa kagawaran na kapag po tayo ay nasa poorly ventilated area, kapag nandun ho tayo sa area na may mga equipment na pwede magpa-aerosolize ng virus, the virus can stay longer in the air,” Vergeire said.
(And that is what the guidelines we’ve been giving from the start, as well as a recommendation from the department that if we are in a poorly-ventilated area, if we are in an area having equipment that can aerosolize the virus, the virus can stay longer in the air.)
Vergeire then reiterated that to in order to prevent contracting COVID-19, the practice of minimum health standards such as wearing of face masks and face shields is important.
The latest guidance from the U.S. CDC said SARS-CoV-2 can linger in the air for hours.
The agency previously published a similar guideline, but later took it down, sparking a debate on how COVID-19 can really spread.
With the latest CDC guidance, should passengers of public utility vehicles be alarmed?
Vergeire said they need no worry, as long as they comply with the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) protocol of 1-meter distancing between passengers.
“Mayroon tayong pamantayan na ang pinapatupad ng ating Department of Transportation na kailangan may ganito pong adequate distance ang isang pasahero from another passenger,” she said. “So kailangan po ‘yan maipatupad natin, tulad ng distansya dapat meron tayong isang metro [distance] and of course, yung minimum health standards natin tulad ng pagsusuot ng face mask at face shield.”
(The Department of Transportation has an order that there should be adequate distancing from one passenger to another. So this needs to be implemented, as well as the practice of minimum health standards like wearing of face mask and face shield.)
“Kung tayo naman ay magiging compliant sa minimum health standards, yun pong probabilidad na tayo ay magkakaroon ng impeksyon ay mababa,” she added.
(If we are compliant with the minimum health standards, the probability of having an infection is low.)
As of Oct. 9, the Philippines’ COVID-19 caseload is at 334,770, with 275,307 recoveries and 6,152 deaths.
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