Filipinos to ‘manage own risks’ with optional mask rule, says Concepcion
MANILA, Philippines — Once implemented, the voluntary use of masks outdoors will allow Filipinos “to manage their own risks,” former presidential adviser for entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion said Wednesday.
Concepcion made the statement in light of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) recommendation that the wearing of masks outdoors be made “optional.”
“If voluntary outdoor masking becomes policy, it will allow Filipinos to manage their own risks,” Concepcion said in a statement, adding that Filipinos must be diligent in practicing health protocols like having good ventilation, physical distancing, and frequent handwashing.
“I think we have had enough practice in the last two years to know how to keep ourselves from being infected,” he noted.
Concepcion also said the government should stock up on antiviral pills.
“We should ensure that we have enough supply of antiviral pills, especially Paxlovid, which we are currently out of stock in the country. This will become crucial as people start moving around without masks outdoors,” he said.
However, a fellow from the independent pandemic monitor OCTA Research believes that masks must be worn while using public transportation and in health care facilities.
“This will allow some Omicron spread but in light of the decision of many Filipinos not to get boosted, it is better to allow for Omicron illness among those whose immunity is waning now to strengthen population immunity rather than to face a possible deadlier variant in six months that could kill more people,” OCTA Research fellow Nicanor Austriatico was quoted as saying.
As of Tuesday, the Philippines reported 3,894,840 cases, including 23,272 active cases, 3,809,450 recoveries and 62,118 deaths.— Lyka Farillon, INQUIRER.net intern
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