Octa: Voluntary face mask rule may not affect COVID numbers in first few weeks

By: Daphne Galvez - Reporter / @DYGalvezINQ - Inquirer.net | September 08,2022 - 02:55 PM
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INQUIRER.net stock photo

MANILA, Philippines —The number of Covid-19 cases won’t be affected in the first few weeks should the government make face masks worn outdoors voluntarily, a fellow independent pandemic monitor Octa Research Group said Thursday.

Dr. Butch Ong explained that the transmission risk is relatively lower outdoors. However, preventive measures should still be intensified.

“As long as sa outdoors lamang. Dahil if we are outdoors ay lower ang risk talaga ng transmission,” he said in a public briefing when asked what would be the effect if wearing face masks were optional.

(As long as it is only outdoors. Since the risk of transmission is lower when outdoors.)

“Maaaring hindi ganun kahabagyang maapektuhan ang ating mga numero over the next few weeks, but of course tingnan natin ang mga datos natin these coming days,” Ong added.

(The effect might not be dramatic over the next few weeks, but we still need to look at the data these coming days.)

He said that should the government decide to ease the mask mandate. Then, intensified preventive measures should accompany it.

He added that those who have symptoms should no longer go outside and should be encouraged to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Malacañang earlier announced that the government’s pandemic task force Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), has recommended making wearing face masks optional in open spaces, non-crowded outdoor areas with good ventilation.

The Department of Health said President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has given “verbal approval” to the IATF’s recommendation.

However, the Palace and the DOH clarified that this is not yet a policy.

In the previous weeks, Ong said the number of COVID-19 infections in the country is generally decreasing, with some areas recording an uptick in their positivity rates.


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TAGS: Cebu Daily News, cebu news, COVID-19, DOH, Face masks, OCTA, optional, optional number of Covid-19 cases, outdoors, Palace, policy

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