Face mask rule in open spaces may be scratched by 4th quarter of 2022 — gov’t adviser

By: Daphne Galvez - Inquirer.net | February 16,2022 - 01:52 PM

Face masks

MANILA, Philippines — Face masks may no longer be required when in open spaces by the last quarter of 2022 if the government manages to fully vaccinate 90 million Filipinos by then, a government medical adviser said Wednesday.

“By that time, kung 90 million ay fully vaccinated, that’s already 90% ng ating population. I-add mo pa diyan ‘yung mga nagka-COVID na binabakunahan so marami rami na rin ang may antibody at protection. Malamang matanggal nga ‘yan [masks] kung talagang protected na ang karamihan ng Pilipino,” National Task Force against COVID-19 medical adviser Dr. Ted Herbosa said in a Laging Handa public briefing.

(By that time, if 90 million individuals are already fully vaccinated, in addition to those who contracted COVID-19 and were vaccinated, many people already have antibodies and protection against the disease. Maybe the face mask rule can be lifted if the majority of Filipinos are already protected.)

Herbosa’s statement was in reaction to vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr.’s remark that the mandatory use of face masks would  “most likely” be dropped by the fourth quarter of the year.

“Palagay ko sa open air puwede na tayong hindi mag-mask kung sakaling malaki sa population ay fully vaccinated,” Herbosa added.

(I think we can already do away with face masks in open spaces in case the majority of our population is already fully vaccinated.)

Herbosa said that there are still factors that the government should consider before completely scratching the face mask rule, such as the possible emergence of COVID-19 variants and the waning immunity from vaccines or infection.

“Kailangan mag-ingat din talaga tayo para magsuot pa rin tayo ng mask sa mga enclosed spaces,” Herbosa said.

(We need to be careful and still wear masks in enclosed spaces.)

The government is aiming to fully vaccinate 90 million Filipinos by June, just before President Rodrigo Duterte steps down from office.

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