DOH balks at Cebu guv’s ‘optional’ face mask use order – INQUIRER.net

DOH balks at Cebu guv's 'optional' face mask use order

FILE PHOTO: Passersby – with and without a face shield – walk past an artwork of a health worker wearing a face mask and eye shields in Recto Ave., Manila. INQUIRER PHOTO/LYN RILLON

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday reiterated that the government’s pandemic task force only allows taking off face masks during “specific instances” like when eating.

It maintained that wearing “best-fitting face masks” is effective in reducing coronavirus transmission, as supported by scientific evidence.

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The DOH made these pronouncements after Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia issued Thursday Executive Order No. 16, which makes the wearing of face masks outdoors and in open spaces not mandatory.

“Current IATF protocols allow only for specific instances when masks can be taken off, such as when eating or during certain well-ventilated sports and activities,” the DOH said in a statement, referring to the health guideline approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

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No less than outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte had also said that the mandatory wearing of face masks will stay until the end of his term or until June 30.

“Scientific evidence supports the use of best-fitting face masks in reducing the transmission not only of COVID-19 but also other infectious and respiratory diseases including Monkeypox, should it reach our country,” the DOH pointed out.

It further stressed that wearing of face mask along with vaccination and boosters “have helped keep our COVID-19 case counts low despite the detection of new sub-variants.”

Also, the DOH again reminded the public that the “pandemic is not yet over” and that the virus still poses danger to the vulnerable population.

“Let’s be responsible and do our part,” the DOH said.

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