Editorial: Face shields, anyone?

Gilbert Manantan

Starting today, Aug. 15, 2020, people reporting to work nationwide must wear face shields in addition to face masks.

The Department of Labor and Employment issued the order to protect workers from Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes the highly infectious coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

The agency expects thousands of workers to go back to work in the next few weeks as the country gears to jumpstart an economy that has been affected by months of lockdown that caused temporary and sometimes permanent closure of businesses.

The government can no longer afford to further restrict people’s movements more than four months since it imposed community quarantine in major urban areas in the archipelago to contain the pandemic that has already infected more than 20 million and killed more than 700,000 people around the world.

Although the number of Covid-19 cases continues to rise in the National Capital Region, here in Central Visayas, particularly in Cebu City, the former “epicenter” of the pandemic, it has been steadily declining.

On Monday, Aug. 10, the city recorded the lowest number of new infections in the last three months at 11, which was surpassed by the number of recoveries at 34 that same day.

The total number of active cases in the city with a population of almost a million stands below the 2,000 mark, with just over 1,700.

With no known cure for the disease and the release of the vaccine still months away, though, the government and the public must maintain their vigilance.

So additional protective measures must be implemented.

According to the Department of Health (DOH), “non-medical grade face shields should have specifications such as clear plastic or acetate material, good visibility, fog resistant, adjustable band to attach firmly around the head, snug fit against the forehead and full face coverage.”

These also must be made of robust material that can be easily cleaned and disinfected.

However, Cebu business leaders have called on the Department of Trade and Industry to make face shields more affordable to both employers and employees with the DOH suggesting a retail price of between P26 and P50.

Pretty soon, everyone in the workplace will be wearing face masks and face shields as the country and the rest of the world continue to adjust to life in the new normal.


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