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Wait for final decision on face shields, local governments told

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Wait for final decision on face shields, local governments told
Commuters prepare their face shields as they board an EDSA carousel bus at the Monumento station in Quezon City on Sept. 23, 2021.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health on Monday urged local governments to wait for the pandemic task force's decision before they issue orders to make face shields optional in their areas. 

This comes after Manila Mayor Isko Moreno signed an executive order that said face shields would no longer be required in the capital except in medical settings. 

In a regular briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the department will present an updated recommendation on using face shields before the task force this week. 

"We urge local governments to just hold their executive orders or issuances so we can all be uniform in our implementation and we are all aligned," she said. 

The health official added they will meet with their own experts this afternoon. But Vergeire said they leave it up to the interior department to deal with LGUs that would prematurely ease the requirement. 

Mayors of the National Capital Region are now also in consensus and will recommend that the task force lift the policy to require wearing the plastic face shields in public. The rule on face shields has been relaxed but these are still required when indoors. 

Benhur Abalos, chairperson of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, said local chief executives want face shields optional "except for critical places such as in hospitals, like when going to barangay health centers and even in public transport."

The Duterte administration first made face shields mandatory in December 2020 amd required people to wear them on top of face masks. 

Back in June, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III told senators his agency would study proposals to drop using face shields when a significant number of the population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Latest figures on Monday showed 29.47 million or 38.21% of the target 77.13 million have since completed their shots, while 34.71 million or 45.01% have received a first dose.

In a separate briefing, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque maintained mayors shoud remain following policies set by the pandemic task force until a new deicision is reached. 

CITY OF MANILA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH FACE SHIELDS METRO MANILA
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