Return of face shield rule possible amid fears over Omicron variant — Galvez

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 28) — The government may again require the wearing of face shields as an “added protection” amid the threat of the Omicron coronavirus variant, one of the officials leading the country’s pandemic response said on Sunday.

National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez, Jr. said they will look into the possibility of bringing back the controversial face shield policy, which President Rodrigo Duterte lifted in most areas in mid-November.

“Some people from WHO (World Health Organization) also believe na kaya nagkaroon tayo ng magandang result dito sa Delta, as compared to others, is because of also the added protection of face shields,” Galvez said in a press briefing.

[Translation: Some people from WHO also believe that the reason why we were able to achieve good results during the Delta surge, as compared to others, is also because of the added protection given by face shields.]

He further noted that Health Secretary Francisco Duque III is in favor of imposing any measure that could help in the fight against the coronavirus.

Currently, only people in areas classified as Alert Level 5 or are under granular lockdowns are required to wear face shields. The President has meanwhile given local governments and private establishments in places under Alert Level 4 the discretion to keep or scrap the rule.

A wind engineer from the University of the Philippines earlier said face shields would only trap viral airborne particles. Some local health experts, however, have maintained the equipment provides an additional layer of protection against the highly contagious virus.

According to officials, no case of the Omicron variant has been detected in the Philippines so far.To prevent its entry, the government has temporarily suspended inbound flights from South Africa, Botswana, and other countries with cases or with the "likelihood of occurrences" of the new variant.

READ: What we know about the Omicron variant