DOH: Eased face mask rule among causes of growing COVID-19 cases
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday said that the relaxed policy on the use of face masks was one of the factors that led to increasing COVID-19 cases in the country.
“Unang-una kailangan maintindihan ng ating kababayan ang pagkalat po o ang pagtuloy ng transmission nitong virus na ito. Marami tayong laging tinitignan na factors, it will not only be due to one specific factor,” DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a press briefing.
(First of all, the public needs to understand this virus’s spread or continued transmission. We are always looking at various factors; it will not only be due to one specific aspect.)
“Katulad ng ‘pag sinasabi na ‘pag naging optional ng mask mandate natin, hindi lamang po ‘yan ang sinasabi nating factor,” she added.
(Like when we say that this is due to our optional mask mandate, that’s not the only factor.)
According to the DOH official, people’s increased mobility and inherent behavior are also among the causes of growing COVID-19 infections.
“Nariyan na ‘yung lehitimo o ‘yung inherent characteristics ng isang tao. Maaaring mas nakakatanda siya, maaaring may comorbidity siya, maaaring may immunocompromised siya, maaaring bata siya, o maaaring labas din siya nang labas.
(There are the legitimate or inherent characteristics of a person. For example, sometimes they are older, they may have comorbidity, and they may even be immunocompromised.)
“’Yung environmental factors natin which include mobility, which includes the inherent behavior of people. Halimbawa, may polisiya tayo nag-optional mask mandate tayo. So, may mga tao na hindi sila nagmamask sa labas maaaring maka-contribute ‘yan.
(Our environmental factors include mobility, which provides for people’s inherent behavior. For example, we have a policy in which we made wearing face masks optional; some people who do not wear face masks outside can also contribute.)
“[Y]ung pagbubukas ng ating mga sektor, alam natin simula ng Marso ng taon na ito, Abril, naka-onti-onti tayo na nagbubukas tayo ng mga sektor natin,” Vergeire also explained.
(Then there’s the gradual opening of our different sectors this March and April.)
The number of COVID-19 cases in the country saw a 22% increase from September 19-25.
According to the DOH’s weekly case bulletin released Monday, the cases recorded climbed to 17,891 last week from the 14,707 infections logged the week prior or from September 12-18.
The latest number prompted a group of health experts to call for the return of the stricter policy on face mask use, which includes the mandatory wearing of face masks even while outside of residences and buildings or other enclosed spaces.
On September 12, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. issued Executive Order No. 3, which allows the voluntary wearing of face masks in outdoor settings.
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