MANILA – Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on Tuesday said President Rodrigo Duterte was merely citing a Japanese-produced documentary when he said that the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is airborne.
In a virtual presser, Nograles made this clarification after Duterte, in a public address late Monday night, said Covid-19 could be spread through exhaled breath, emphasizing that the public should wear face masks as protection.
“Ang basis po ni Pangulo…meron din po sigurong nakapanood nito, merong isang Japanese television news network na lumabas ng documentary kung saan pinag-aralan ng mga scientists and doctors kung tungkol sa microparticles ng breath ng tao kahit siya ay nagsasalita (The President’s basis is…perhaps there are some who have watched this, there’s a Japanese television news network that released a documentary which showed scientists and doctors are studying the possibility of microparticles of breath when a person is talking),” he said.
Nograles, however, clarified that the findings were not “conclusive” and research is ongoing.
“Nabanggit lang po ni Pangulo na isa ito sa pinag-aaralan (It’s something the President mentioned is being studied) but there is still no conclusive findings or statement from the DOH (Department of Health) or the WHO (World Health Organization),” he said.
He emphasized the importance of wearing face masks to stop the spread of droplets of saliva ejected when a person coughed or sneezed.
Last week, Nograles said the IATF has required mandatory wearing of face masks or other protective equipment for residents in areas placed under Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine when leaving their homes “pursuant to existing guidelines issued by the national government.”
He said face masks can either be store-bought or improvised, given the global shortage of face masks.
Local government units, he said, should issue necessary executive orders or ordinances to require the use of face masks and impose such penalties for offenders.
Since Covid-19 experts still say that the disease is transmitted through close contact, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire reiterated the importance of one-meter physical distancing measure. (PNA)