THE Philippines has lifted its mandatory use of face shields in areas under Alert Level 1 to 3.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, November 15, approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to drop the face shield requirement in certain areas.
“Ang decision ko is okay, tanggalin nyo na yung shields. Pwede na ninyong (My decision is okay, you can remove the shields. You can), you dispense with the shields but not the mask),” he said in his pre-taped public address.
However, the Chief Executive stressed that face masks will remain mandatory amid the pandemic, saying that COVID-19 “will be here for a long time.”
“You have to obey what the government will tell you to do because it’s for the good of the country and for you. Sumunod lang kayo (Just obey),” added Duterte.
Earlier that day, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea issued a memorandum saying face shields will be worn “on a voluntary basis for areas under Alert Levels 3, 2, and 1.”
On the other hand, face shields will remain mandatory for areas under Alert Level 5 and granular lockdowns.
For areas under Alert Level 4, local government units and private establishments are given discretion to mandate use of face shields.
“The above protocols are without prejudice to the continuing mandatory use of face shields in medical and quarantine facilities, and the required use thereof by healthcare workers in healthcare settings,” the memo read.
Currently, Metro Manila is under Alert Level 2 until Nov. 21.
The IATF first issued the use of face shields outdoors in December last year.
In September this year, Duterte limited the use of face shields in places that fall under the “3Cs” category: crowded, closed, and close contact.
The Philippines is the only country in the world that requires using face shields in addition to masks. n