DEPARTMENT of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año on Monday, August 10, 2020, encouraged families who find it difficult to observe physical distancing due to limited space to wear face masks even inside their homes.
“Isipin natin ngayon ang transmission pami-pamilya na... so dapat ang pinaka importante d’yan kung hindi nila maiiwasan (dikit-dikit sa bahay) magsuot sila ng mask advisable din ang face shield d’yan. Ang important din yung mga elders na kasama sa bahay, dapat maprotektahan sila dapat talaga nakasuot sila ng mask,” Año said.
Año also reiterated the need to isolate those found positive for the coronavirus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
He said infected individuals will merely transmit the virus to other members of the family if they refuse to go to isolation or quarantine facilities.
Home quarantine is allowed only when the infected individual has his own room and comfort room. There should also be no elderly and immunocompromised individuals in the same household.
Año made the statement following the statement of National Task Force Against Covid-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. on August 6 that they have observed transmission of the novel coronavirus among family members.
"Based doon sa data na nakita natin sa hospitals, ang contamination ngayon is not only by individuals, ngayon by families na. Nakita natin 'yung vulnerability talaga sa workplace at saka 'yung vulnerability ng mga informal communities na talagang hindi nag-o-observe ng minimum health standards," Galvez said.
DILG spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said another basis for Año’s statement was the cluster of infections at the Nidec Philippines Corporation in Biñan in Laguna, where almost 300 employees were found positive.
“Yan ‘yung konteksto nung statement ni Secretary Año na kahit sa bahay mag-maintain ng social distancing at gumamit ng face mask kasi lumalabas ‘yung mga magulang lumalabas ‘yung iba at nagtatrabaho at dun nanggagaling ang sakit,” Malaya said.
Malaya said the wearing of face masks inside residence is "more of an individual's discipline and responsibility" as there is no intention to impose such regulation.
Año also encouraged the public to wear face shields, aside from face masks, in public places and densely populated areas such as public transportation, markets, supermarkets, hospitals and quarantine facilities.
The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has not required wearing of face shields, but approved the Department of Transportation’s initiative to required such additional protection gear in public transport.
Malaya said that as an added measure against the spread of the virus, it is possible that such policy will be implemented in other areas where people converge.
As of Sunday, August 9, the country has recorded a total of 129,913 coronavirus infections with 67,673 recoveries and 2,270 deaths.
The five provinces with the most number of new cases were Metro Manila with 1,700, Laguna with 169, Cebu with 114, Rizal with 98, and Cavite with 93. (SunStar Philippines)