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Manila eyes reinstating mandatory mask wearing

The local government of Manila is eyeing to reimpose the mandatory wearing of masks amid the uptick in coronavirus infections in the city.

In Lei Alviz’s report on “24 Oras” on Monday, Mayor Honey Lacuna-Pangan said active COVID-19 infections in Manila were at 91 as of 12 noon which is 40% higher than the reported cases last week.

“Kung tutuusin po, maliit pa po yan kumpara sa population ng Maynila. Pero noong mga nakaraang lingo kasi mababa na siya, nasa 20 plus. Ngayon po napansin namin, right after ng vacation nung Semana Santa, medyo dire-diretso po ang pag-akyat ng mga kaso natin,” she said.

(Actually, this figure is small compared to the population in Manila. Last week, we monitored only 20 plus cases but we noticed a continuous uptick after the Holy Week break.)

Most of the individuals who tested positive for the virus were overseas Filipino workers who temporarily stayed in the city while the densely-populated Tondo area recorded the highest number of infections, according to the mayor.

“Pwede po namin yun ibalik na gawing mandatory uli anytime…’Yan ay kung patuloy pa rin po ang pagtaas ng kaso ng covid sa aming lungsod... Ako po siguro, sa indoor muna kami magsisimula depende sa makukuhang datos,” she added.

(We can make mask-wearing mandatory anytime. But that’s if there will be a sustained increase in cases…It will depend on the data. But I think we’ll start with wearing masks indoors.)

Lacuna-Pangan, a medical doctor, said the city government is putting its focus on senior citizens, adding only 20% of their population availed of the second booster dosage.

She further said the increase in cases is still not affecting local hospitals, with only nine reported COVID-19 cases in six hospitals and none in the intensive care unit.

Meanwhile, the mayor said the Manila government is waiting for the Department of Health to greenlight the second booster vaccination for the general population. The agency earlier said it is finalizing the guidelines for the inoculation of the vaccine dose.

“Sa tingin namin mas maa-address natin itong uptick ng COVID cases through vaccination. 'Yun po sana ma-rollut na yung 2nd booster for the general population, para hindi tayo nag-aalala na magkakaroon na naman tayo ng surge ng COVID,” Lacuna-Pangan added.

(We think we can address this increase through vaccination. We’re hoping we can roll out the second booster vaccination for the general public so we would not worry about another surge of infections.) —Sundy Locus/ VAL, GMA Integrated News.