Wearing of face shields to be required in Metro Manila, Calabarzon

Wearing of face shields to be required in Metro Manila, Calabarzon
This screengrab from a COVID-19 task force meeting aired on July 31 shows presidential spokesman Harry Roque wearing a face shield over a face mask.
RTV, screengrab

MANILA, Philippines — As the government extended general community quarantine in Metro Manila and Calabarzon until August 15, the COVID-19 task force announced that it would be amending minimum health standards in these areas to include the wearing of face shields on top of face masks.

"We will have stringent enforcement of minimum health standards, these are the washing of hands, wearing of masks, and social distancing. And the wearing of [face shields], there are now four minimum health standards," COVID-19 task force spokesman Harry Roque said in Filipino during a televised inter-agency meeting with the president.

He added that these heightened standards are being placed on Metro Manila and Calabarzon due to the rising number of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations in the regions.

Roque did not mention when the additional requirement of wearing face shields would take effect but stressed that it was one of the "conditionalities" for the continued placement of these areas under GCQ.

Under IATF Resolution 60, local government units of Metro Manila and Calabarzon shall implement the following measures in areas with high community transmission:

  • Strict localized lockdown/ECQ in barangays where 80% of cases are located and the publication of these barangays
  • Stringent enforcement of minimum health standards
  • Massive targeted testing, intensified tracing and quarantine of close contacts
  • Isolation of confirmed cases
  • Strict adherence to the implementation of Oplan Kalinga for isolation of confirmed cases

The Department of Health on Thursday night announced a record-high 3,954 new coronavirus infections, bringing the national case load up to 89, 3754.

Dr. Tony Leachon, former COVID-19 task force adviser, this week urged that the National Capital Region, the epicenter of the country's outbreak, be reverted to a stricter enhanced community quarantine for two weeks.

Mathemathics professor Guido David, a member of the UP OCTA Research group, has also said that tightening quarantine restrictions would help the region as other measures such as randomized testing and localized lockdowns are not sufficiently curbing the rise in cases.

David on Monday warned that COVID-19 cases could reach 90,000 by the end of July and 140,000 by the end of August.

As it stands, the country has been under the longest community quarantine period in the world at 136 days. — Bella Perez-Rubio

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