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Roque on Duterte's suggestion to soak face masks in gasoline: Joke only

Malacañang on Thursday said Rodrigo Duterte was only joking when he said that face masks can be disinfected through gasoline.

In a televised briefing, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the public should know by now that Duterte is fond of giving jokes.

“Kayo naman, apat na taon na si President, hindi niyo pa siya kilala. [That was a] joke only. Bakit naman tayo maghuhugas ng gasolina?” Roque said.

In a late Monday night address that was aired on Tuesday, Duterte said face masks could be reused after disinfection, which he said could be done through alcohol, Lysol or gasoline.

“Maski na gamitin mo 'yan (face mask) dalawang beses okay man, i-sprayan mo na lang ng alcohol... Pagkatapos ng araw, hang it somewhere i-sprayan mo ng Lysol if you can afford it. 'Yung wala, ibabad mo ng gasolina o diesel. Pu***g i** COVID-19 na 'yan, di uubra 'yan diyan,” the President said.

Roque said the President’s intention to protect the populace from COVID-19 is clear given his desire to distribute face mask for free.

“Gusto niya mamigay ng libreng face mask sa lahat, kung hindi man sa maraming tao, lalo na sa mahihirap,” he said.

Health Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire earlier said that surgical and N95 masks are for single use only, but that the public can wash their cloth mask for disinfection and use them again.

“Ang ibang mask, puwede natin labhan ng paulit-ulit, katulad ng cloth mask. Puwede natin yan labhan at dapat labhan pagkatapos gamitin sa isang araw. Kailangan lalabhan, papatuyuin, papabilad sa araw, saka gagamitin ulit,” she said.

Vergere also cited that under the Department of Health's memorandum on the rational use of protective equipment, those with COVID-19 symptoms should wear a surgical mask, while those who work in hospitals should use an N95 mask.

As for those outside the hospital with no symptoms, a cloth mask can be used — a policy that is backed by the World Health Organization.

The Philippines has 72,269 COVID-19 cases so far. Of this number,23,623 recovered while 1,843 died. This makes the total number of active COVID-19 cases at 46,803. —KBK, GMA News