A face shield is now required to be used together with a face mask in public places. This is after the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) approved the recommendation for mandatory face shield use in view of the expected surge in COVID-19 cases during and after the holiday season.
The use of face shield has been previously required only in specific places like in malls or while riding public transportation. But in view of the expected increased movement and gathering of people this holiday season, the IATF saw it fit to require face shield use for additional protection, said Presidential Spokesperson and concurrent IATF spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr.
“Ngayon po kinakailangan isuot na pareho ang face shield at ang face mask. At kinakailangan po full ang face shield kasama po ang face mask,” stressed Secretary Roque during a press briefing on December 15.
All persons are mandated to wear full-coverage face shields together with face masks, earloop masks, indigenous, reusable or do-it-yourself masks, or other protective equipment.
“Whether be it a holiday or for longer period of time, you know meron na tayong face shield, kailangan gamitin na lang for added protection dahil meron naman pong studies that show na talagang naiimprove ang chances of avoiding the disease kapag sumuot ng face shield not just the face mask,” said Secretary Roque.
Aside from the mandatory face shield use, the IATF likewise placed the province of Isabela, with the exemption of Santiago City, in General Community Quarantine (GCQ), from its previous Modified General Community Quarantine classification, until December 31, 2020. The escalation of Isabela to GCQ was based on the province’s moderate risk cross-tabulation of Average Daily Attack Rate and 2-week Daily Growth Rate.
The IATF likewise gave its nod in its latest Resolution to the request for face-to-face Insurance Agents’ Qualifying Examination in areas under GCQ following health and safety protocols. Also approved is the request of the Philippine Olympic Committee to allow the resumption of training by our national athletes who will be vying in the Tokyo Olympics.
The recommendation will allow for the training of athletes in a bubble-type setting, the conduct of which will be done in coordination with the Regional Task Force where the training will be done and with the local government unit where the proposed venue is located.
Lastly, the IATF approved the return of operations of provincial buses in point-to-point routes approved by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), local government unit of destination, including stopover and transit terminals. The Department of Transportation and the LTFRB will be issuing guidelines with regard to this.
Meanwhile, in yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, together with the members of his Cabinet, approved the recommendation of the Department of Education (DepEd) on the conduct of a dry run or pilot implementation of face-to-face classes in select schools in areas that are of low COVID-19 risk in January 2021. The conduct of these limited face-to-face classes will follow DepEd guidelines that require commitment and shared responsibility among the Education Department, local government units, and the parents.
President Duterte, in the said Cabinet meeting, directed the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to shorten, reconfigure, and simplify requirements for the settling of claims, including stretching the limit on late filing.
On the issue of vaccines, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director-General Rolando Enrique Domingo reiterated the requirements and the process involved in the issuance of Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). DG Domingo assured the public that the FDA will not issue an EUA unless a vaccine is proven safe and effective. Domingo also said that the approval of EUA applications may be shortened if the drug or vaccine has been approved by mature regulatory agencies.
On the part of the part of the Department of Budget and Management, Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao assured that the government is doing everything to bring vaccine suppliers to the Philippines. Usec. Lao said that the Philippine government is negotiating directly with the countries in charge of the vaccine producers to ensure that the country gets its share of COVID vaccines. ### OPS-PCOO