The government ordered the mandatory wearing of face masks in public placed in the entire Luzon as part of the enhanced community quarantine protocol, Malacañang official said Thursday.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said in a virtual press conference that the measure was approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to slow the spread of pandemic COVID-19 in the country.
“For areas placed under ECQ, the IATF hereby adopts the policy of mandatory wearing by all residents of face masks, earloop masks, indigenous, reusable or do-it-yourself masks, face shields, handkerchiefs, or such other protective equipment that can effectively lessen the transmission of COVID-19, whenever allowed to go out of their residences,” Nograles said.
He also said local government units should make ordinances to implement the IATF’s directive and impose penalties “as may be appropriate.”
Mandatory wearing of face masks in areas under quarantine imposed
There has been a shortage of medical face masks supplies in the country even before the Luzon-wide lockdown. It started when Mount Pinatubo erupted, and face masks were almost sold out, even in places not affected by the eruption.
Residents in the provinces say there are still no available surgical face masks were available in the market. They mostly rely on cloth face masks, which are not liquid-proof.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III earlier said cloth face masks could not entirely protect someone from getting infected with the virus. He said the coronavirus may be transmitted through droplets.
He also reminded last January that surgical face masks were disposable and should only be used for eight to 10 hours. Otherwise, these may serve as sources of bacteria due to prolonged exposure.
DOH said the best way to protect yourself from getting the virus is to stay home, practice proper handwashing, and boost the immune system.
Meanwhile, the PNP and other law enforcement agencies continue to launch operations against those who are taking advantage of the medical supplies shortage.
Yesterday suspects Jay Bonn Agbulos, 36 at Brian Maglaya, were arrested in an entrapment operation at Alabang-Zapote Road in Brgy. Almanza Uno. The two were selling overpriced 120 boxes of surgical masks.