Thursday, July 29, 2021

Editorial: To face shield or not to face shield?

SENATE President Vicente Sotto III said on Thursday, June 17, 2021, that President Rodrigo Duterte agreed that face shields should only be worn in hospitals.

“Last night, the President agreed that face shields should only be used in hospitals. Allowed us to remove ours! Attn (attention) DOH (Department of Health)!” Sotto said in a Twitter post.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. also confirmed that the President has said this.

Earlier, Manila City Mayor Francisco Domagoso urged the national government to consider lifting the face shield requirement, except in hospitals.

The wearing of face shields is among the minimum health standards being implemented in the Philippines in a bid to curb Covid-19 infections.

Based on Joint Memorandum Circular 2021-0001, face shields are required in enclosed public spaces, schools, workplaces, commercial establishments (such as but not limited to, food establishments, malls, and public markets), public transport and terminals, places of worship, other public spaces wherein one-meter physical distancing is not possible, and gatherings of more than 10 persons at the same venue at the same time.

Most likely, the Philippines is currently the only country that is requiring the use of face shields for the general public.

The questioning of the effectiveness of the face shield as a means to protect one from the Covid-19 has been around since the pandemic began. There also came a time when it became very expensive due to a surge in demand after it was required.

The general public, clearly, has not been a fan of the face shield due to how some get an uneasy feeling wearing it inside establishments. There are also no updated studies that show the effectiveness of face shields -- is it really effective or does it really make a difference if we wear it or not?

As the government ramps up its vaccination and have a better understanding of the Covid-19, it may be time for the government to recalibrate some of its health standards. Probably, we should dial down the use of face shields. We can also look at other successful nations as to how they were able to keep life going without the face shields.

Despite the president's sentiments towards the face shield policy, Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases may still appeal against it.

"I think the possible move of IATF now is to appeal what the President said and what was repeated to the public by the Senate President (Vicente Sotto III) and Senator (Joel) Villanueva," Roque added.

Until a new resolution is released by the IATF, the face shield stays.

Aside from the face shield, the IATF may also reconsider the requiring of motorcycle barriers, which until today confuses people. There is also no proper study to back it up too.


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