Face mask, shield now required in all public places

BAGUIO. The wearing of face mask and face shield is now required in all public places in the Philippines. (Jean Nicole Cortes/SunStar Baguio File)

Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo

PEOPLE are now required to wear face shields and face masks in all public areas, whether outdoor or indoor, Presidential Secretary Harry Roque said on Tuesday, December 15, 2020.

Roque said it was agreed upon during the meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) on Monday, December 14, that face shields and masks should be worn in all public places not only inside establishments as earlier implemented.

He said this is to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) during the holiday season, when more people are expected to step outside of their residences and gather in various places.

As of Monday, December 14, the country has recorded a total of 450,733 confirmed Covid-19 cases in which 23,253 were active cases.

Earlier, the Octa research group said the country might reach 480,000 Covid-19 cases by the end of 2020.

It also issued warnings over the possible spike of Covid-19 cases in the country especially that the government has allowed the conduct of conferences and seminars, as well as due to the upcoming holidays.

"We urge the National Government to rethink its directives that may increase the chances of dangerous superspreader events as these can trigger another wave. We should be especially cautious of these directives as we approach the Christmas holiday season," Octa said in its latest research-monitoring report of the health pandemic.

"In this regard, we urge the National Government to rethink directives such as allowing conferences and seminars to resume in GCQ areas as these events could facilitate social mixing and viral transmission," it added.

Octa urged the government to have clearer guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus during the holiday season and that Filipino families are still expected to gather despite the warnings.

Meanwhile, the IATF placed the province of Isabela under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) from modified GCQ (MGCQ) until December 31, 2020 as recommended by Governor Rodolfo Albano III based on the data of coronavirus infections in the province.

Roque said the order does not include Santiago City, which is an independent component city of Isabela.

Metro Manila, Batangas, Iloilo City, Tacloban City, Lanao del Sur, Iligan City, Davao City, and Davao del Norte also remain under GCQ, while the rest of the country is under MGCQ.

The province of Isabela in Luzon was one of the areas badly hit by Typhoon Ulysses.

The Octa also earlier said that coronavirus infections in typhoon-hit areas like Isabela and Cagayan are expected to increase especially that some families have been displaced. (SunStar Philippines)