Wearing of face shield now a must in public

    In Bacolod wearing of faceshields has been mandatory in selected areas since November. (Photo by PNA Bacolod)

    Isabela under GCQ; provincial buses allowed
    to resume ops

    THE wearing of face shield and face mask when in public is now mandatory, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said yesterday as he announced the promulgation by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) of new health and security guidelines in time for the holiday season.

    Roque said the IATF has issued Resolution No. 88 which orders “all persons (to) wear full coverage face shields together with face masks, ear loop masks, indigenous, reusable, or do-it-yourself masks, or other facial protective equipment which can effectively lessen the transmission of COVID-19, whenever they go out of their residences.”

    In the past, the IATF has only required the use of face shields when riding public transportation or when entering establishments like shopping malls, groceries and pharmacies.

    Included in the IATF list of to-dos was for local government units (LGUs) to come up with their respective ordinances that would lay down the sanctions against violators of the safety protocol.

    Roque said the use of face shields, which should cover the forehead up to the chin, should not be a problem since the protective gear can now be bought cheaply.

    Aside from mandating the use of face shields in public places, the IATF resolution likewise pulled out Isabela province, excluding Santiago City, from the coverage of modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) and placed it under the stricter general community quarantine following an “escalation” of coronavirus disease (COVID) cases in the area.

    “The imposition of GCQ in the province is without prejudice to the imposition of localized enhanced community quarantine in areas of special concern. Further, Coordinated Operations to Defeat the Epidemic teams assigned in the province is directed to strengthen their activities to curb community transmission,” the IATF said in its resolution.

    Currently under GCQ until December 31 are Metro Manila, the provinces of Batangas, Lanao del Sur, and Davao del Norte; and the cities of Iloilo, Tacloban, Iligan and Davao while the rest of the country is under MGCQ.

    Also under the updated omnibus guidelines of the IATF, the movement of all persons in areas under GCQ remains limited to accessing essential goods and services, and for work in the offices or industries permitted to operate hereunder.

    It added that those ages below 15 years old and above 65 years old are still not allowed outside of their homes.

    The task force has also approved the resumption of operations of point-to-point provincial buses, including stopovers in transit terminals. The Land Transportation, Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and destination LGUs have been directed to craft and issue the implementing rules for the resumption of the provincial bus trips.

    Likewise, the IATF approved the conduct of a “bubble-type” training of national athletes who will compete in the Tokyo Olympics. The request for the resumption of training was made by the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee.

    The IATF said the training mode shall be made in coordination with the Regional Task Force where the training shall be conducted and the LGU that has jurisdiction over the proposed venue.

    The Philippine Sports Commission, the Games and Amusement Board, and the Department of Health are directed to come up with the appropriate guidelines or amendments to their existing resolutions.

    Manila Mayor Isko Moreno said he will immediately put the city under lockdown if the number of active COVID-19 cases climb to more than 1,000 anytime during the holiday season.

    “If we reach 1,100 active cases, I will not hesitate to order a lockdown in a given district or area,” Moreno said. Manila recorded 1,100 active cases in July but the figure has been on a downtrend for the past two months already. – With Ashzel Hachero