DOH: Necklace air purifier offers no protection vs COVID-19

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 16) — Necklace air purifier offers no protection against COVID-19 and could be more harmful, the Department of Health said on Monday after the Cebu Governor required drivers of public utility vehicles to use it.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the use of necklace air purifiers "might lead to complacency or false security."

"Sa ngayon hindi natin nirerekomenda 'yang mga necklace air purifier, at sinasabi na ng ebidensya at mga eksperto that it's not going to provide you with protection…Sana hindi na lang natin ito gamitin," she said in a media briefing.

[Translation: Right now we do not recommend the use of necklace air purifiers, and evidence and experts say that it's not going to provide you with protection...I hope we do not use it.]

Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia required PUV drivers to use necklace air purifiers as a measure to curb the further spread of COVID-19 in the province. Monday was the first day of implementation, but several drivers were unable to comply with the new requirement due to insufficient supply.

Since many drivers feared getting apprehended, they canceled their trips. They were given until Aug. 25 to comply, otherwise they will be punished for not wearing air purifiers during their trips.

PUV operators were the ones tasked to purchase the gadget for their drivers and conductors. Some PUV operators provided their drivers with soft loan, while others simply give the air purifiers for free.

A driver said he bought the cheapest type of air purifier for P600, while another one said he shelled out P2,000 just to comply with the requirement.

Most drivers said they understood the purpose of wearing air purifiers as a measure against COVID-19, but when asked if they believe it is effective, they only smiled.

Cebu-based correspondent Dale Israel contributed to this report.