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Sotto wants probe on efficacy of face shields



Senate President Vicente Sotto III is seeking legislative inquiry to determine the efficacy of wearing face shields in preventing the transmission of the dreaded coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

Sotto on Wednesday filed Resolution No. 757 which directs the Senate Committee of the Whole to convene and investigate the efficacy of using face shields as well as to evaluate the existing health and safety protocols in the country.

In his explanatory note, the Senate leader said the World Health Organization (WHO) only recommends the use of masks in preventing Covid-19 infections but not face shields.

“WHO only advice the public to use masks as part of a comprehensive strategy of measures to suppress transmission and save lives,” the resolution reads.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), face shields are not as effective at protecting you or the people around you from respiratory droplets. Face shields are only an alternative for people who are not advised to wear masks,” it added.

None of the countries with outbreak of Delta variant of Covid-19, Sotto said, has imposed its use.

“The Delta variant of Covid-19, first identified in India, has been detected in 74 countries and has caused outbreaks in China, United States of America, Africa, Scandinavia, and United Kingdom. To date, none of these countries has imposed the mandatory use of face shield by the general public despite the continuous rose in cases involving said variant of concern,” it added.

Further, Sotto said face shields serve as additional financial burden to “marginalized and poor Filipinos.

He is among the lawmakers, which include Senator Risa Hontiveros, who are rallying against the mandatory use of face shields.

Earlier in the day, Sotto inquired through a social media post who is the “genius” who persuaded the government to retain its protocols after he reviewed the summary report submitted by the Department of Health to the Senate.

He concluded that the Philippines is the only country globally to require both masks and face shields in public settings.

“It is confirmed, even the brief sent by DOH proves no country in the world mandates the use of face shields on top of the face mask. It’s either or in most countries. Other countries, mask only!” he said in a Twitter post.

“Who was the genius who persuaded the government?” he said in a separate message.

Last week, the senator announced on Twitter that President Rodrigo Duterte has agreed that face shields should only be used in hospitals.

Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque confirmed his statement but after discussions with health experts, the President heeded the call to keep it as a requirement across all settings and as further safeguard from the Delta variant of Covid-19 detected in the country.