Face shields stay for now — DILG, DOH

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 3)— Both the Health and the Interior departments are bucking Manila Mayor Isko Moreno's suggestion to do away with using face shields, saying it adds a layer of protection needed by the public given the risks of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Hindi pa pwedeng tanggalin ang [We can't remove the] face shield policy for now when our two-dose vaccination coverage is a little over 2% due to still inadequate vaccine supply," Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Thursday.

He added there have also been studies that showed face shields together with masks and physical distancing have provided "greater than 95% protection."

READ: DOH recommends keeping protocol on wearing of masks, face shields

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año also supported the continued use of face shields.

"For me, it's not yet time na i-drop natin 'yung paggamit ng (to drop the use of) face shields, because we are still in a pandemic," Año told CNN Philippines' News Night.

"We still have a lot of active cases, at hindi pa talaga 'yan bumababa nang husto dito sa (and they have yet to go down here in) NCR Plus, and even other areas, tumataas (they are still rising)," he added.

DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya echoed the sentiment.

"Kung tatanungin kami sa DILG, hindi pa po siguro panahon para tanggalin ang face shield dahil hindi pa po tayo nakakalabas dito sa pandemya... Kung tatanggalin natin 'yan, dapat may kapalit," he said during the Laging Handa briefing.

[Translation: If you were to ask the DILG, we would say it is not the time to remove face shields because we are not clear of the pandemic... If we take that out, there should be something to replace it.]

Malaya also said he spoke with Moreno, who assured him it was just a suggestion. He added the Inter-Agency Task Force in charge of managing COVID-19 would be studying the mayor's suggestion.

"We will be guided by science in all our decisions," Malaya said.

On Wednesday, Moreno posted a message on his Facebook page saying, "Ang face shield ay dapat ipatigil nang i-require sa general population at gamitin na lamang sa ospital upang makabawas sa gastusin at intindihin ng taumbayan."

[Translation: The general public should no longer be required to wear face shields and these should just be worn in hospitals so people will not have any additional expenses.]

He added "we should adjust" as it seemed the Philippines was the only country in the world requiring face shields.