PH officials clarify: Face shields not yet required, but encouraged

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 31) — Wearing of face shields in public is highly encouraged, but not yet required for now, government officials clarified on Friday.

During President Rodrigo Duterte's taped address to the nation that aired on Friday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said wearing of face shields will be the fourth minimum health standard that forms part of "conditionalities" in keeping Metro Manila and Calabarzon under general community quarantine despite rising COVID-19 cases.

"Ito ang hugas kamay, suot ng mask, at social distancing. At pagsuot na rin po ng face shield," he said.

[Translation: The new minimum health standard is washing of hands, wearing of face masks, social distancing, and wearing of face shield.]

However, the resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases detailing the new announcements did not mention the use of face shields. When sought for clarification, Roque said he merely "recommended" it.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez also said it is not mandatory, but it may soon be one of the guidelines of the IATF.

He said using face shields on top of masks will increase protection up to over 90 percent as coronavirus is spread through respiratory droplets.

"Hindi pa po 'yan nire-require ngayon pero baka in the future ay ma-require na natin kung kakailanganin pa natin ng extra protection. Sa ngayon po we will just encourage ang pagsusuot ng face shield. Umpisahan na natin," Lopez said in a separate briefing.

[Translation: It is not required for now, but in the future, we may require it if there is a need to increase protection. For now, we encourage it. Let's start using it.]

To date, the coronavirus disease has hit more than 89,000 people in the country. Of this number, some 22,000 are active cases or currently ill patients, after around 65,000 recovered and nearly 2,000 died.