Philippines drops use of face shields as Covid-19 cases fall

Face shields will be mandatory only in areas where there is a strict lockdown. PHOTO: AFP

MANILA (BLOOMBERG) - President Rodrigo Duterte says face shields will no longer be required in many areas in the Philippines, easing the mandate more than a year after becoming one of the few countries in the world to require the plastic barriers against Covid-19.

Face shields will be mandatory only in areas where there is a strict lockdown, according to a memorandum from Mr Duterte's office. Wearing them has been "cumbersome", Mr Duterte said at a briefing aired late on Monday (Nov 15).

The United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend its use against Covid-19 because its "effectiveness is unknown at this time", while the World Health Organisation says this equipment can be used for eye protection during outbreaks.

In the Philippines, a Senate probe has looked into allegations that face shields bought by the government were overpriced - a claim that officials have denied.

Mr Duterte, on Monday night, also approved the health department's recommendation for health workers to receive Covid-19 vaccine boosters and called on local governments to again ban kids in malls after a report that a two-year-old boy tested positive for Covid-19 days after going to a mall.

Daily infections have eased to fewer than 2,000 in the past days.

In the same briefing, Mr Duterte said the Philippine economy "can soon return to its pre-pandemic performance" after gaining traction last quarter on strong household consumption.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.