Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the Department of Health (DOH) will make an appeal if President Rodrigo Duterte decides to only require the use of face shields in hospitals.
Interviewed by GMA News' Joseph Morong, Duque reiterated that it is not yet time to drop the use of face shields as the country’s COVID-19 vaccine coverage remains low.
“Any layer of protection is better than less protection,” Duque said.
Earlier on Thursday, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Duterte has agreed that face shields must only be worn in hospitals.
Senators Joel Villanueva and Juan Miguel Zubiri confirmed their conversation with the President on Wednesday night, but said it was merely “off the cuff” and not an official discussion.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said, meanwhile, that the wearing of face shields is still required.
Face shields made headlines anew on Wednesday after treatment czar Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega said it may be removed when outdoors.
Sought for clarification, DOH spokesperson Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Vega’s statement “has always been the standing policy.”
Vergeire said Joint Memorandum Circular 2021-0001 states that face shields are required to be worn in the following areas:
- Enclosed public spaces
- Commercial establishments
- Public transport and terminals
- Places of worship
Other public spaces wherein one-meter physical distancing is not possible and there is gathering of more than 10 people at the same venue at the same time
In a text message to GMA News Online, Duque said the use of face shields will be taken up at the meeting of the government’s inter-agency COVID-19 task force on Thursday afternoon. —Julia Mari Ornedo/KBK, GMA News