Senator and Senate Committee on Health Chairman Christopher “Bong” Go commended President Rodrigo Duterte and the national government for deciding to limit the use of face shields to only high-risk activities, following the recommendation from the Department of Health Technical Advisory Group.
“Suportado ko rin po ang unti-unting pagluwag ng ating mga patakaran lalo na sa mga nabakunahan na upang makatulong sa pagpapaunlad ng ating ekonomiya. Isa na rito ang paglilimita sa paggamit ng face shields upang makahinga nang konti ang mga Pilipino at mapagaan ang hirap na kanilang dinadala,” Go said.
“Ang pangunahing proteksyon naman natin ay ang mask at ang bakuna. Dagdag na proteksyon ang face shield pero pwede nang hindi gawing mandatory ‘yan kung kung hindi naman crowded, hindi naman closed space, at wala namang close contact, o ang tinatawag ng mga eksperto na 3Cs,” he explained.
According to Go, wearing face shields may be considered non-mandatory in low-risk activities, especially for fully vaccinated individuals, as the government accelerates its vaccine rollout. He went on to say that wearing a mask remains the primary protection for the public to protect themselves from Covid-19.
“Pero kahit luwagan pa ang ating mga polisiya, huwag pa rin tayong maging kampante dahil delikado pa ang panahon. Hikayatin natin ang ating mga kababayan na magpabakuna at sumunod sa mga patakaran upang masigurong walang maiiwan sa ating muling pagbangon bilang isang mas matatag na bansa,” he urged.
On 22 September, Duterte said that face shields will only be required in areas that are crowded, closed, or when in close contact with other people.
The President had initially stated his willingness to limit the usage of face shields as early as June, suggesting that they should only be worn in hospitals. But after the Department of Health validated the first few cases of the infectious Delta variety, Duterte decided to implement it further as an additional precautionary measure.
Duterte defended the policy, saying “With the kind of aggressive infection that poses a very grave danger to…it’s a small inconvenience, actually. I know that it is inconvenient really to be wearing the mask (and face shield), adjusting it from time to time. But that is only a very small price to pay than rather gamble with doing away with it and courting disaster.”
After the approval of the new face shield-wearing policy, face shields will now be limited to mandatory use in high-risk activities under the so-called “3 Cs” (closed, crowded and close contact) framework.
These include activities in settings wherein there is exposure risk such as those that may need close contact based on nature of work. Also included are those prone to crowding such as establishments, public transportation, indoor spaces, personal care services, and other similar instances and places where high risk of infection is possible or present.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases is expected to release the details of the new, more relaxed guidelines on the wearing of face shield.
Previously, Go echoed the recommendation for the voluntary use of the face shield on top of masks in other settings not earlier specified, especially in Alert 3, 4 and 5 areas in the country.
“Kahit luwagan ang face-shield wearing policy, huwag pa rin tayo magkumpyansa. Dagdag na proteksyon ang face shield kaya kung maaari, konting tiis lang po. Magsuot pa rin tayo kapag kailangan at kung hindi naman ito sagabal sa ating trabaho,” he added.
Meanwhile, Go has urged authorities and experts to speed up their study into the feasibility of inoculating minors, citing the approval of pilot face-to-face lessons in low-risk zones.
According to health experts, the government should start immunizing minors with comorbidities aged 12 to 17 years, as defined by the Philippine Pediatric Society.