Duterte lifts face shield rule in areas under Alert Levels 1 to 3

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 15) — The government is no longer requiring the use of face shields in areas under Alert Levels 1 to 3, following the approval of President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a memorandum released on Monday, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said Duterte has approved the recommendation of the national COVID-19 inter-agency task force to make face shields voluntary in places with a relatively low COVID-19 alert level.

These changes shall be effective immediately.

For areas under Alert Level 5 and granular lockdowns, the use of face shields in community settings shall be mandatory, according to the memorandum.

Meanwhile, local government units and private establishments in places under Alert Level 4 are given the discretion to keep or scrap the policy.

"The above protocols are without prejudice to the continuing mandatory use of face shields in medical and quarantine facility settings, and the required use thereof by healthcare workers in healthcare settings," the order read.

In recent days, a number of LGUs nationwide have already relaxed their face shield policy, which has been a contentious issue among the public and lawmakers. A wind engineer from the University of the Philippines earlier said face shields would only trap COVID-19 airborne particles.

The president of the Philippine Medical Association, on the other hand, said the government should stick with the rule as it provides an additional layer of protection, especially for children.