Face mask, face shield not enough protection in crowded areas – DOH

The Department of Health () warns that even if a person wears a face mask and face shield, they can still be infected with when in a crowded area.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire issued the reminder on Monday after a photo went viral of people crowded in , Manila, and Baclaran in Pasay City for shopping.

“Nakita po namin iyong mga litrato noong weekend, kung gaano kasikip. Gusto nating ipaalala sa ating mga kabababayan, nariyan pa rin ang [COVID-19] virus. Ang virus, naihahawa kapag naroon ka sa lugar na talagang siksikan,” Vergeire said in an online briefing.

“Kahit po kayo ay naka-mask at naka-face shield pero kayo naman ay pumupunta sa matataong lugar na halos dikit-dikit na po kayo, maaari pa rin kayong mahawa,” she warned.

Vergeire further explained that the Inter Agency Task Force, the government’s policy-making body on , prohibits “mass gathering” because the risk of transmission is very high in crowded places.

“The risk is there. Kaya iwasan po ang pagpunta sa matataong lugar kung maaari po,” the official said.

“Ang risk ng pagkahawa hawa ay napakalaki kapag tayo ay nakakapunta sa mga lugar na maraming tao katulad noong nangyari noong weekend,” she added.

Face mask, face shield not enough protection in crowded areas – DOH

Instead, the DOH urges the public to just shop online for the gifts they will give to their loved ones during the to avoid COVID-19 transmission.

According to Vergeire, DOH understands the public’s excitement about Christmas shopping and celebrating holiday traditions. However, a possible surge of infections could occur as people crowd in shopping malls and commercial districts.

As of November 23, 2020, the Department of Health recorded 1,799 additional cases of COVID-19. Meanwhile, 135 were recovered, and 50 died.

Of the total number of cases recorded in the country, 6.1% (25,837) were active cases, 91.9% (386,604) were cured, and 1.94% (8,173) died.

For the first time since June, the daily positivity rate (the number of people who tested positive for the virus) decreased to below 5 percent. Of the 19,178 tests done on Monday noon, 853 came back positive, or a positivity rate of 4.4 percent.

Earlier, the World Health Organization (WHO) set a benchmark positivity rate of less than 5 percent.