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Can Face Shields Be Removed Outdoors? Treatment Czar Thinks So

Important to wear them indoors, he says.
by Pia Regalado
Jun 16, 2021
Photo/s: Jerome Ascaño

The Philippines' COVID treatment czar said Wednesday face shields may no longer be necessary when outdoors, when the risk of virus transmission is low compared to enclosed spaces.

Health Usec. Leopoldo Vega issued the statement in response to a question during the government's daily "Laging Handa" briefing. He did not say if it signalled a change in policy, wherein face shields over face masks are mandatory in all public spaces.

"'Pag nasa outside naman kasi alam naman natin ang risk of transmission is very low lalong-lalo na pagka naglalakad ka lang sa kalye o nagtatrabaho ka kasi makaka-affect 'yung moist nito, so puwede n'yo pong tanggalin ho 'yan," Vega said.

"Pero kapag pumasok kayo sa indoors, kailangan may face shields kasi ito 'yung added protection na hindi kayo maka-transmit o mahawahan kayo."

Wearing of full-coverage face shields are a must in these areas, according to a joint memorandum circular dated January 29, 2021:

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

Mayor Isko Moreno suggested earlier to drop the face shield rule in public spaces, an idea long-raised by health experts on social media.

In response, the Department of Health said face shields provide another layer of protection against COVID-19 while the immunization program continues its rollout in the Philippines.

Health Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said DOH may consider loosening up these measures when it sees a significant decline in daily COVID-19 cases.

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