DOH-7 exec cautions premature dropping of face mask mandate

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - CDN Digital Multi-Media Reporter | February 17,2022 - 05:21 PM
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CEBU CITY, Philippines – An official from the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) has cautioned about the consequences of prematurely dropping face mask mandates amid reports that the Philippines may do so by the end of 2022. 

Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH-7 chief pathologist, agreed with sentiments that requiring face masks in the region as protection against the infection should be kept until several conditions have been met.

“It’s too early to even bring it up now. Wait, observe and plan accordingly,” said Loreche. 

These conditions included having a higher vaccination coverage rate. 

“Let’s play it on the safer side to keep the masks on until such time that we have seen the impact of a 90 percent vaccine coverage ratio on our cases,” Loreche told CDN Digital.

 

Loreche stressed that abruptly abandoning protocols designed to curb the spread of COVID-19 can lead to unwanted consequences. 

“As we observe, other countries who lifted the use of face masks prematurely despite their higher vaccine coverage, surges and spikes of cases still burdens them, overwhelming their health systems,” she explained.  

Even as the country’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak will soon transition from being a pandemic to endemic, minimum health standards like wearing face masks should be considered as part of the new normal, she added. 

“As we try to transition from pandemic to endemic, our advocacy has centered on preparedness: face mask, ventilation, vaccination, early detection through testing and isolation. These public health measures will surely become the norm rather than the exception,” Loreche continued. 

The national government earlier made a pronouncement that the use of face masks may hopefully be gone if coronavirus cases in the country become “manageable” and  COVID-19 “reach that endemic state.” /rcg 

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TAGS: Cebu Daily News, cebu news, COVID-19, COVID-19 pandemic, DOH-7, Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, face mask

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