Health authorities in Region 7 (Central Visayas) have expressed their support to the pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte that the public is no longer required to wear face shields.
Department of Health (DOH)-7 officials on Thursday said the region is ready to abide by the directive.
On Wednesday, Duterte approved the recommendation of the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to limit the use of face shields to the so-called “3Cs,” which refers to “closed and crowded” spaces, and activities that “promote close contact”.
However, Dr. Eugenia Mercedes Cañal, head of the DOH-7 Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit, said in a virtual presser the regional agency will wait for the final guidelines from the central office in implementing the new rules.
She noted that no studies prove coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) transmission is reduced by the wearing of face shields.
“The compliance of people in using the face shield was very low. There are people who really are not wearing the face shield all the time,” Cañal added.
DOH-7 medical officer Dr. Philip Van Baton said the wearing of face shields was required in closed areas like malls and supermarkets as an added protection of the populace against Covid-19.
“But it will only be effective if you wear it properly,” he said.
The chief pathologist of DOH-7, Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, said President Duterte’s pronouncement is welcome news for the residents in the region.
“There has never been sufficient evidence that face shield will add a statistically significant benefit in reducing transmission of Covid-19 in areas with adequate ventilation. However, in certain settings like hospitals (intensive care unit, emergency rooms) where aerosolizing procedures are performed, crowded spaces where physical distancing is difficult to achieve and in areas where ventilation is not adequate, face shields might still be useful,” Loreche told the Philippine News Agency in an interview.
She said face masks and installed air purifiers with HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters are still considered highly effective in decreasing transmission of airborne pathogens in enclosed spaces with poor ventilation.
Duterte has ordered that the guidelines on the latest face shield policy be issued “immediately.” (PNA)