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Gov't may require wearing of face shields, says DTI chief Lopez

The government is considering requiring citizens to wear face shields while in a public place as an added protection against COVID-19, Trade Secretary Mon Lopez said Friday.

"Ngayon po, pinag-aaralan din po ngayon... 'yung wearing of face shields. Ito po yung isa pang mga kino-consider ng IATF na i-encourage na rin ang ating mga kababayan as an extra step para lumakas ang prevention at maiwasan ang transmission," Lopez said at the day's Laging Handa briefing.

IATF, or the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, is the government's policy-making body in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Citing a study, Lopez said a face shield can prevent 99% of potential transmission especially when used with a face mask.

"Sa pag-aaral, something like 82% ang naba-block pag may mask. Pero pag may face shield ka pa, almost 99% ang naba-block na potential transmission," he said.

"Kaya ho beyond the wearing of mask ini-encourage na rin po natin yung pagsusuot ng face shield lalo na po pag nasa public place, o nasa maraming tao, or nasa public transport," Lopez added.

Lopez stressed that so far, face shields are not yet required. "Pero baka po in the future ay ma-require na natin kung kakailanganin pa natin mag-extra protection."

For his part, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the wearing of face shield is "highly recommended" as it is part of "minimum health standards" to be observed to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“Magkakaroon po tayo ng stringent enforcement of minimum health standards. Ito po ‘yung hugas kamay, suot ng mask at social distancing, at pagsuot na rin…ng face shield,” Roque said.

Roque made the announcement during a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte and some Cabinet officials on Thursday when he enumerated the conditions that Metro Manila and CALABARZON must meet in order to remain under general community quarantine.

“[It's] highly recommended,” Roque added in a text message. 

He said the IATF’s initial discussion on the use of face shields to complement wearing of face masks in public focused on low ventilation settings such as public transportation.

“Studies have shown that wearing face shields, in addition to wearing masks and physical distancing, would further reduce virus transmission in low ventilation settings,” Roque said. —with Virgil Lopez/KBK/RSJ, GMA News