Tells Filipinos COVID-19 first wave already depleted gov’t resources
(Eagle News) – President Rodrigo Duterte said the country could not afford a second wave of the COVID-19 virus, as he directed the reimplementation of the mandatory wearing of face shields and directed Filipinos to get vaccinated.
Duterte, in his “Talk to the People” on June 21, said that the highly infectious and more aggressive Delta variant is what changed his mind regarding the wearing of face shields after presented with scientific evidence on how it could give up to 99 percent protection against COVID when worn together with face mask, and with social distancing.
“Now, I will agree with you considering that this D variant is very aggressive and it can proliferate in so much short period of time. We may experience a second wave much more serious than the first,” he said.
The President said that the first wave of the pandemic has already depleted the government’s funds. .
“Second is we cannot afford it. Iyong nangyari sa ating, ‘yong first wave, it has depleted really the resources of government. Now, another one would be disastrous for this country. That is why the stricter you are, the better,” he said.
-Duterte apologizes for changing mind on faceshield-
President Duterte also apologized to the public for his earlier statement made during a meeting with Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III that the wearing of face shields is no longer required, and should only be worn in a hospital setting. It was however, Sotto, who announced this to the public.
Duterte said that many may have thought that that they were ready to do away with the face masks, because of these pronouncements, but that he now realizes the importance of wearing a face shield and face mask indoors as well as outdoors after being briefed by health experts regarding the new Delta variant.
“I will apologize to the Filipino people that this thing was being discussed openly and many thought that we were ready to do away with the face shield. But with the kind of aggressive infection that poses a very grave danger to… It’s a small inconvenience, actually. I know that it is inconvenient really to be wearing the mask, adjusting it from time to time. But that is only a very small price to pay than rather gamble with doing away with it and courting disaster,” he said.
The President said he is adopting the recommendation of the health experts to wear face shield, together with face masks, indoor and outdoor, especially in areas with many people.
“Kasi ang transmission, it’s accepted by all that it could be transmitted through the eyes and through the nose. So I am — I am left with no recourse but really to adopt your recommendation,” he said on Monday night during his “Talk to the People.”
He said that the fear and worry of the possibility of a second wave hitting the country is what prompted him to make mandatory again the wearing of face shields together with face masks.
Duterte clarified that his talk with the senators “was just a casual chat” and the things that he said during their chat was “not a done deal.”
“As of now, the face mask is on. Wala tayong magawa — the face — ah the face shield, importantly, the mask. Iyon na lang ang pangkontra ko kasi it is to the national interest, I said, that we must triple our effort,” he said.
“I’m constrained really to go back to the old practice because of this danger posed by the D (Delta) variant. Kung wala lang sana ‘yan, especially, I said, with the narratives that goes with it in the international news and even dito sa locally, it’s scary,” he said.
“So I cannot afford to place the nation, the national interest of the Republic by just, you know, sometimes adopting this and being lenient to this. I said, I know that it is a very tedious, if you may, but it is really to prevent a disaster of our nation,” President Duterte said.
-Roque: Face shield with face masks to prevent COVID-transmission, science-based-
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, in his press briefing on Tuesday, June 22, defended the President’s decision to reimpose the wearing of face shields indoors and outdoors, saying this was “based on science and evidence-based studies” that this was effective in preventing the transmission of COVID, including the highly infectious Delta variant.
“Ninety-nine percent ang estimated effect of protection kapag naka face mask, face shield, at physical distancing,” said Roque, citing the results of international studies.
The Palace spokesperson also cited the result of a study done in India, which shows that among 62 healthcare workers who did not wear face shields, 12 were infected with the virus in a week. While among those who wore face shields, none contracted COVID-19.
-Full coverage face shields required-
“Ibig sabihin naka-base po sa siyensya itong desisyon ni Presidente sa pagsusuot ng face shield,” Roque said.
Roque stressed that the protocol on the use of face shields contained in an IATF Resolution released in December 2020, will remain in effect. Citing a portion of the said protocol, Roque said, “All persons are mandated to wear full-coverage face shields, together with face masks, earloop masks, indigenous, reusable, or do-it yourself masks, or other facial protective equipment which can effectively lessen the transmission of COVID-19, whenever they go out of their residences.”
Roque also emphasized the use of full face shields. “Yung visor-type face shields are not allowed. Face shields shall cover the entire face, completely cover the sides and length of the face,” said Roque.
Roque also said that “common sense” should also be used in deciding when to wear a face shield. In a press briefing on Monday, June 21, he said that face shields are not required when exercising, jogging or biking outdoors.
The IATF had initially made an appeal for President Duterte to allow the wearing of face shield with face mask outdoors, especially in areas with many people, and indoors or in enclosed spaces, after it was announced by Senate President Sotto that the President had decided to do away with the mandatory wearing of face shields, except inside hospitals.
The IATF had recommended the “mandatory wearing of face shield in enclosed / indoors spaces of hospitals, schools, workplaces, commercial establishments (such as but not limited to food establishments, malls, public markets), public transport and terminals, and places of worship.”
(Eagle News Service)