MANILA, PHILIPPINES — On Thursday, September 8, OCTA Research Group said that the optional wearing of face masks outdoors might not affect the number of Covid-19 cases if it becomes a policy.
Malacañang announced on Wednesday that the government’s pandemic task force IATF-EID, or Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, stated that they recommended the optional wearing of face masks. However, it should be in open spaces that are well-ventilated and not too crowded.
The DOH (Department of Health) said that President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. had given his “verbal approval” of IATF’s recommendation.
When asked in a public briefing about the effect of optional wearing of face masks, OCTA member Dr. Butch Ong said, “As long as sa outdoors lamang. Dahil if we are outdoors ay lower ang risk talaga ng transmission.”
(As long as it is only outdoors. Since if we are outdoors, the risk of transmission is lower.)
In the previous weeks, Ong said the number of Covid-19 infections has decreased, while some places have recorded an uptick in their positivity rates.
“So, maaaring hindi ganoon kabahagya na maapektuhan ang ating mga numero over the next few weeks but of course, tingnan natin ang mga datos natin,” he said.
(So, the effects may not be noticeable on our numbers over the next few weeks but of course, let’s look at our data.)
Ong said that the risk of transmission for Covid-19 outdoors is lower, but they must still strengthen preventative measures if they ease the face mask mandate.
“For example, kapag tayo ay may karamdaman o may sintomas, huwag na tayong lumabas at iyong sa ating mga vaccination ay kapag hindi pa nabakunahan please do consider vaccination pa rin ‘no,” he said.
(For example, if we have illness or symptoms, do not go out, and for those who are unvaccinated, please do consider vaccination.)
However, it should be noted DOH and the palace are clarifying that the IATF-EID recommendation is not yet an actual policy. –WhatALife!/Zed