DOH does not recommend face shields for everyone

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 18) — There should be exemptions to the rule requiring face shields to be worn on top of face masks when in public areas, the Department of Health said Friday.

People with certain health conditions may experience difficulty in breathing when forced to wear both face mask and face shield, DOH Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a media briefing. It may also put some workers at risk when their vision is impeded.

Hindi po natin nirerekomenda na gagamitin ang face shield kung ang isang tao ay mayroong specific na karamdaman na magkakaroon siya ng limitasyon sa paghinga,” Vergeire said.

[Translation: We do not recommend the use of face shield if a person has a specific condition that could result in breathing limitations.]

Hindi rin natin siya nirerekomenda doon sa mga trabahong medyo magiging dangerous siya," Vergeire added. “Baka magreflect doon sa face shield, magkaroon siya ng pagkalabo sa sight niya.”

[Translation: We also do not recommend it for some workers who may be put in danger. The reflection from the face shield may blur their sight.]

Early this week, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, who also speaks for the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, announced that the policy-making body has made it mandatory to wear full face shields together with face masks to prevent further spread of COVID-19. Previously, face shields only have to be worn when riding public transportation and entering malls.

READ: Boracay tourists must wear face shields except when swimming

In its latest resolution released on Friday, the IATF said the DOH, along with the departments of Trade, Labor, and other relevant agencies, should come up with a consolidated advisory on the proper use of face shields, “including exclusions or exemptions, if any, as may be appropriate.”

Although other countries managed to flatten the infection curve without requiring face shields, the DOH maintained it would provide additional protection against the virus, which is mainly spread through respiratory droplets and exposure to infected patients.

“What we are recommending right now is for people to use face shields, together with face masks and do physical distancing especially when you are in public places,” Vergeire said.

The Philippines has recorded over 456,000 cases of the coronavirus disease since the outbreak began. It continues to see around 1,000 to 2,000 new infections daily even as the entire country remains under varying levels of community quarantine.