MANILA, Philippines — An infectious disease specialist and government adviser still recommends the use of face shields even in open-air settings due to the continuous threat of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and its highly contagious variants.
Dr. Edsel Salvana of the Department of Health (DOH) Technical Advisory Group said on Friday that he would still insist on the use of a face shield as it offers a layer of protection against COVID-19 variants, particularly the Delta and Alpha variants.
Citing several studies, Salvana said the Delta variant, which first emerged in India, is up to four times more transmissible than the original coronavirus and the Alpha variant.
“Sa pag-aaral, ang Delta variant is 60 percent more transmissible than Alpha, ano ba yung Alpha? Ang Alpha yun yung UK variant, which is already 60 percent more transmissible than the original virus. So 60 percent plus 60 percent pa so halos four times po ang pwedeng maging increased transmissibility nito,” he said during the Laging Handa public briefing.
He added that preliminary data also show that the Delta variant is about 40 percent more contagious even in outdoor settings.
“So para sa akin, kahit pa sabihin nila na hindi na required ang face shield lalo na with the threat of this Delta variant, gagamit pa rin talaga ako ng face shield, I will recommend it because it is an extra layer of protection,” he said.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Thursday said the existing policy on the use of face shields against COVID-19 will remain in effect pending the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte on the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force to continue the use of face shields in enclosed or indoor spaces.
These spaces include hospitals, schools, workplaces, commercial establishments such as but not limited to food establishments, malls and public markets, public transport and terminals, and places of worship.
The task force met on Thursday afternoon to discuss the policy on the use of face shields after some senators shared their conversation with Duterte in Malacañang about the limited use of face shields.
Salvana said that should the president decide to remove or limit the use of face shields, he would still wear one as protection against coronavirus variants.
“Hindi ko pipilitin kung ayaw nyong gumamit ng face shield o kung tanggailn yung mandate but I still strongly recommend it lalo na with the threat of the variants. I, myself, when I’m interacting with other people, I will use this face shield po,” he said.