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WHO advises Philippines: Don't lift face shield policy amid rise in COVID-19 cases

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday advised the Philippines against lifting its policy on the mandatory wearing of face shields outdoors as the country reports a surge in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

In an interview on The Source, WHO representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe noted that the Philippines recorded another record-high of 22,415 new infections on Monday.

It also marked the fourth straight day with more than 20,000 new cases were reported.

“WHO has mentioned that [a face shield] is primarily meant for healthcare workers in facilities where aerosol-generating procedures are happening,” Abayasinghe said.

“But we have as a country decided, you as have as a country decided that face shields should be worn. So we shouldn’t change that position now when the country is experiencing the highest number of cases,” he added.

Abayasinghe said that changing the policy amid the rise in cases might send the wrong message to the public.

“Let us be very clear that we need to strengthen whatever we are doing now, to strengthen the response. We can look at that once we get the situation that is currently prevailing under control,” he said.

Malacañang on Monday announced that Metro Manila will be under general community quarantine (GCQ) from September 8 to 30 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said granular lockdown will be pilot tested in Metro Manila during the GCQ period although "there is no guidelines yet."

Roque in a briefing earlier said the IATF will hold a meeting on Tuesday afternoon to iron out the guidelines.

The country has logged a total of 2,103,331 confirmed cases. -MDM, GMA News