IATF requires wearing of face shields on top of masks

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 15) — The government is now requiring everyone stepping out of their homes to wear a face shield on top of a face mask, task force spokesman Harry Roque said Tuesday.

In a media briefing, Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has made it mandatory for people to wear full face shields together with face masks to "effectively lessen the transmission of COVID-19."

Previously, the face shield is only required to be worn when riding public transportation and in entering malls.

Roque clarified that full face shields should be used, which covers the forehead to the chin. Anything shorter than that is not allowed, he said.

"It's not an issue of cost anymore. I doubt meron pang taong walang face shield [I doubt there are still people who don't have face shields]," the Palace official added, saying the plastic protectors now sell for as low as ₱5.

The new policy comes as the Philippines braces for a potential surge in COVID-19 infections during the holiday season, as more people head out to shop and meet family and friends after months of strict quarantine rules.

RELATED: ‘Let's not waste our gains’, say experts on possible holiday surge in COVID-19 cases

Roque said penalties for people caught without face shields when outside will depend on local government units.

Other countries have managed to flatten the infection curve without requiring face shields. Local cases have reached more than 450,000 with over 8,800 deaths as of Tuesday afternoon, according to the Department of Health.