Face shield policy to return once Omicron enters PH, higher alert levels imposed
MANILA, Philippines — The mandatory face shield policy will be implemented again once the Omicron variant of COVID-19 enters the Philippines, and higher alert levels will be imposed in affected areas, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said Monday.
Año made the remark as proposals on the re-imposition of the face shield policy surface anew amid the threat of the Omicron variant. Currently, wearing of face masks is voluntary in areas under Alert Level 2, such as Metro Manila.
“With the policy na naging voluntary siya at Alert Level 2 po ang buong Pilipinas, except isang probinsiyang nasa Alert Level 3, pero nakita natin na bumaba din naman yung numbers [but we have seen the numbers went down],” Año said during the Talk to the People briefing.
“But of course, pag pumasok yung Omicron at tumaas yung alert level, ii-impose ulit natin,” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier approved nixing the mandatory use of face shields in areas under Alert Levels 1, 2, and 3,
However, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday that the Omicron variant is likely to spread internationally, posing a “very high” global risk where COVID-19 surges could have “severe consequences” in some areas.
“Omicron has an unprecedented number of spike mutations, some of which are concerning for their potential impact on the trajectory of the pandemic,” the WHO said.
“The overall global risk related to the new variant of concern Omicron is assessed as very high,” it added.
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