Palace: NCR vaccination progress could be a factor in Duterte's face shield pronouncement

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 23) — Malacañang on Thursday said the progress in Metro Manila’s COVID-19 vaccine drive could have played a role in President Rodrigo Duterte’s move to drop the mandatory face sheild use outdoors.

“As the President said po, 'yan ay sang-ayon din sa mga advice ng ating mga dalubhasa," said presidential spokesman Harry Roque during his regular briefing. "So siguro may mga factors na kinonsidera ang ating mga dalubhasa – kasama na diyan 'yung halos 70% na nabakunahan na dito po sa Metro Manila." 

[Translation: As the President said, this is in accordance with advice from our experts. Perhaps they considered factors including the nearly 70% rate of fully vaccinated people in Metro Manila.]

Latest government data shows 15.08 million doses have been administered in the National Capital Region as of Sept. 22. Of this number, 6.76 million individuals are already fully inoculated against the disease – yielding a 69.16% coverage ratio.

In a taped address aired on Wednesday night, Duterte announced that the use of face shields will no longer be required outdoors. However, these must still be worn by those in closed and crowded areas and places that could promote close contact. 

Roque likewise asked the public to wait for the guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on the pronouncement, adding these are part of the agenda for their meeting today.

Duterte initially ordered the lifting of face shield mandate in June but changed his mind, citing health experts’ advice and the threat of the more transmissible Delta variant.

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