President Rodrigo Duterte gave the green light to do away with face shields in outdoor areas this Wednesday.
In his Talk of the People address, Duterte stated that he chose to follow the advice of several medical experts from the government’s technical advisory group regarding the decision. Though face shields will still be required in areas that fall under “the 3C’s”: close, crowded, and close-contact.
“‘Yan tatlo na ‘yan, face shield is a must pa rin. ‘Yun ang recommendation. Labas sa tatlong limitations, puwede na na hindi gumamit,” he said.
(For those three categories, the face shield is still a must. That is the recommendation. Outside of those three limitations, you no longer have to use it.)
Face shields have long been a sore point for many Filipinos, who complain that the plastic contraptions are useless, bulky, and inconvenient. They’ve pointed out that no other country requires the use of face shields outside of hospital settings and have also questioned the government’s motive for continuing to acquire the PPE, at especially controversial prices.
Despite the government’s claims that the face shield helps to prevent coronavirus infections, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that face shields are ultimately “not as effective at protecting you or the people around you from respiratory droplets.”
The World Health Organization (WHO), on the other hand, did say that they could protect from “splashes of biological fluid” and that they are helpful to those who work in hospitals, as they come into contact with patients daily.
Neither organization has given an official recommendation on the use of face shields.
The Philippines continues to be a hotbed for COVID-19 infections in Southeast Asia, clocking in almost 2.5M reported cases, 37,338 deaths, and 162,580 active cases as of Wednesday.
Art Daniella Sison