WHO looking into whether Philippines' face-shield policy works

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
WHO looking into whether Philippines' face-shield policy works
Residents wait for their turn to get a shot of Sinovac vaccine at the cinema area of a mall in Antipolo City on Aug. 24, 2021.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — The World Health Organization on Tuesday said it is looking into the experience of Filipinos in using face shields as protection against COVID-19.

The Philippines is one of the few countries that advocate the use of face shields in addition to face masks, Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, WHO representative to the Philippines, said.

"The face shields are being used to reduce the likelihood of infection through the eyes. That’s not actually an additional layer although it boosts the protection provided by poor mask-wearing practices," Abeyasinghe said.

In a separate statement issued by the DOH, the WHO official said: "face shields may reduce the likelihood of infection through protection of the eyes and provide an additional layer of protection for those who are not wearing their masks properly."

He said that while the country was able to "sort of delay the speed at which the Delta variant is spreading, we don’t know if face shields are a contributory factor."

"So while we are understanding all of these issues, it’s best to look for evidence and make our decisions based on that."

In December 2020, the government began requiring individuals to wear face shields on top of face masks whenever they leave their homes.

Officials have faced calls to ditch the use of face shields but they have insisted the plastic coverings provide addition protection against COVID-19.

Some senators expressed suspicion that some officials may be making money from the sale of face shields. In its report, the Commission on Audit found that the government procured face shields priced at P120 each.

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