The Philippines on Tuesday tallied 849 new COVID-19 cases, the lowest recorded for 2021, as wearing of face shields was made voluntary under Alert Levels 1, 2, and 3 a year after it was made mandatory.
The second lowest for the year was tallied on Jan. 3, with 891 COVID-19 cases.
The day's tally brought active cases to 25,464. There were 2,393 new recoveries and 99 new deaths, the Department of Health said.
Overall, a total of 2,819,341 COVID-19 cases have been reported since the pandemic began in March 2020, of which 2,748,069 have recovered and 45,808 died.
President Rodrigo Duterte in his Tuesday night address said he was making wearing of face shields voluntary in areas under the three lowest alert levels.
While voluntary in areas under Alert Levels 3, 2, and 1, face shields will still be required in areas under Alert Level 5 and those under granular lockdowns.Commuters in areas under the three lowest alert levels can also skip the face shield on all forms of public transportation.
For areas under Alert Level 4, local government units and private establishments are given the discretion to mandate the use of face shields.
The use of face shields will also remain mandatory in hospitals, quarantine facilities, and by healthcare workers in healthcare settings.
A five-step alert-based quarantine system was piloted in Metro Manila last September and allows for broader economy to operate via granular lockdowns. Filipinos nationwide will bid goodbye to the old quarantine acronyms in phases.
Malacañang late Saturday released the alert-based quarantine classifications nationwide to be implemented until Nov. 30.