There is a “scientific” basis for the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to mandate the use of face shields in public spaces, Malacañang said on Thursday.
In a virtual presser, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said studies have shown that wearing a face shield on top of a face mask can help further reduce the transmission of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the country.
“It is a scientific fact that the wearing of both masks and face shields contribute substantially to the reduction of Covid-19 cases,” said Roque, also acting as IATF-EID spokesperson.
Roque’s statement came in response to the call of Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso to lift the IATF-EID’s policy requiring the use of face shields in all public places.
On Wednesday, Moreno suggested that face shield requirement should only be applied when people are going to hospitals.
Moreno made the proposal to “lessen the expenses and problems of the people.”
Infectious disease expert Dr. Edsel Salvaña, who is also a member of the Health department’s technical advisory group, thumbed down Moreno’s proposal to drop the policy requiring the use of face shields in public spaces.
Salvaña, in a Facebook post, said face shields provide eye protection and prevent people from touching their faces and pulling down their masks.
Not doable for now
Roque backed Salvaña’s statement, saying it is not appropriate to stop people from wearing face shields for now.
“So, right now, parang walang kinakailangan ng compromise (perhaps, there is no need for a compromise) because it is a scientific fact na nakakatulong po ang pagsusuot ng face shield (that the use of face shield has a benefit),” he said.
Roque added that like people wearing face shields on top of face masks and observing strict social distancing are protected from Covid-19 like those vaccinated against the coronavirus.
“Statistically, kapag ikaw po ay nag-face mask, face shield, at nag-distancing, halos equivalent po ang protection niyan sa bakuna (if you wear face mask and face shield and observe social distancing, that is equivalent to protection you can get when you are vaccinated),” he said.
Roque likewise said Filipinos need not spend too much since most of them have already bought face shields.
He, nevertheless, said the IATF-EID might consider Moreno’s suggestion, if all mayors in Metro Manila make a similar proposal.
“I’m sure narinig ng IATF ang rekomendasyon ni Mayor Yorme. At kung ito po ay magiging rekomendasyon ng lahat ng mga mayor sa Metro Manila eh talagang pinapakinggan naman po ang implementers dahil sila po ang nagpapatupad ng mga IATF policies (I’m sure the IATF already heard about the mayor’s proposal. And if it will be the recommendation of all Metro Manila mayors, it will be considered because we are listening to the implementers enforcing the IATF policies),” Roque said.
In December last year, the IATF-EID decided to make it mandatory for the public to wear face masks and full face shields when they leave their homes to prevent the possible spike in Covid-19 cases.
The IATF-EID also issued advisory on the proper use of face shields in all public places nationwide. (PNA)