IATF recommends to Duterte face shield use in all enclosed areas | Inquirer News
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IATF recommends to Duterte face shield use in all enclosed areas

By: - Reporter / @DYGalvezINQ
/ 08:04 PM June 17, 2021
IATF recommends to Duterte face shield use in all enclosed areas

FILE PHOTO: People wearing face masks and face shields. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / Niño Jesus Orbeta

MANILA, Philippines — The government’s pandemic task force has recommended to President Rodrigo Duterte to require the wearing of face shields in enclosed or indoor spaces, Malacañang said on Thursday evening.

This move somewhat aims to modify a recent pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte that the face shield should only be worn in hospitals, as bared by Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

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Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque in a statement released to the media past 6:30 p.m. said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has recommended that face shields be used while inside the following areas:

  • hospitals
  • schools
  • workplaces
  • commercial establishments (such as but not limited to food establishments, malls, and public markets)
  • public transport and terminals
  • places of worship

“While waiting for the President’s decision on the matter, the existing policy on the use of face shields remains in effect,” Roque said in a statement.

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But what is the existing policy on the use of face shields?

Malacañang has yet to clarify the government’s current policy on the use of face shields since several government officials have contradicting statements on the issue.

Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega earlier said there is no more need to wear a face shield if an individual is outdoors since the risk of COVID-19 transmission is very low in the open air.

READ: Face shields can be removed when outdoors, says DOH exec

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, meanwhile, said wearing of the face shield was only required in “specific settings” such as:

  • enclosed public spaces
  • schools
  • workplaces
  • commercial establishments such as but not limited to food establishments, malls, and public markets
  • public transport and terminals
  • places of worship
  • other public spaces wherein 1-meter physical distancing is not possible and there is a gathering of more than 10 people at the same venue at the same time

This looks awfully a lot like the IATF’s latest recommendation to the President, yet Vergeire claims this “has always been the standing policy” of the health department, citing the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) 2021-0001 on the Clarificatory Guidelines on the Mandatory Use of Face Shields Outside of Residence for COVID-19 Mitigation.

To add to the confusion, Duterte in a recent meeting that included lawmakers has said that wearing the face shield is only required in hospitals – which was revealed by Sotto and then confirmed by Roque in a press briefing earlier Thursday.

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READ: Duterte says face shields for hospital use only — Sotto

Roque even pointed out that Duterte’s latest pronouncement can already be considered a policy although the IATF can still appeal it and recommend amendments to that rule before the President.

READ: Palace: Face shields in hospitals now a policy but IATF can appeal decision

It was in December when the government’s pandemic task force required people outside of their residences to wear both face shields and face masks at all times.

Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso recently suggested that the mandatory face shield policy should already be dropped but Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and other government officials opposed this.

According to Duque, the wearing of a face shield – said to be a piece of personal protective equipment offers an added layer of protection against COVID-19.

READ: Roque insists use of face shield help protect vs COVID-19

Duque earlier said the IATF’s Thursday meeting will tackle Duterte’s latest pronouncement on the wearing of a face shield, but the task force, which was supposed to give clarity to the government’s policies related to the COVID-19 pandemic concluded by just coming up with a recommendation regarding face shield use before the President.

KGA

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
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For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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TAGS: COVID-19, face shield, Harry Roque, IATF, indoor spaces
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