Health Secretary Francisco Duque III reiterated on Sunday that it is not yet time to lift the policy requiring the wearing of face shields in public areas.
This, after Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso renewed appeals for the national government to stop requiring their use.
“Mayor Isko’s proposal would be okay if we had a wide vaccination coverage,” Duque said during a media interview.
“We can’t drop the face shield policy for now when our two-dose vaccination coverage is a little over 2 percent due to still inadequate vaccine supply,” he added.
Duque has repeatedly stressed that the use of face shields is backed by science, citing a study published in leading international medical journal The Lancet.
“There are many scientific studies showing that face shields in combination with face masks and more than 1 meter social distancing provide a greater than 95 percent protection,” he said.
The Philippines has only vaccinated over 3.9 million people as of May 30, still far from the government’s target of inoculating 58 million individuals in Covid-19 hotspots by November.
The inter-agency Covid-19 task force made the use of face shields mandatory only in December last year.
Both local and international experts have advised against the use of face shields as a substitute for face masks. A US study showed that shields alone cannot prevent the spread of the virus. SOVEREIGNPH