Anyone who goes out during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) is now required to wear a mask, according to a new guideline imposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
A face mask could be anything that can cover or protect the wearer’s nose and mouth. This includes face masks, earloop masks, reusable masks or do-it-yourself masks, face shields, and even handkerchiefs.
“Sa lugar saan may enhanced community quarantine, lahat po ng mga kababayan natin na lalabas sa kanilang tahanan para mamili ay required na po gumamit ng face mask, panyo, face shields o anumang kagamitan na makakatulong sa pagpigil ng pagkalat ng COVID-19 virus,’ Cabinet Secretary and IATF spokesperson Karlo Nograles said during the Laging Handa press briefing on Thursday, April 2, 2020.
Nograles said that in the absence of medical-grade face masks, “anything na maka-protect sa ilong at bibig” will suffice. “Kahit improvised ito o panyo, basta po may pangtakip tayo ng bibig at ilong,” he added.
Local government units (LGU) are also mandated to issue the necessary ordinances on the mandatory wearing of face masks. Citizens who do not comply will be met with penalties that the LGU deems appropriate.
Wearing face masks is not reliable protection from COVID-19
In an earlier press briefing, Nograles discredited the "no face mask, no entry" policies of some establishments that have remained open during the ECQ. He stressed that wearing a mask is not a requirement before entering stores or banks.
The Department of Health (DOH) also clarified previoulsy that face masks were only recommended for people who do not feel well to reduce the chances of them infecting other people.
Merely wearing a mask is not foolproof protection against COVID-19. Make sure you wear a face mask that fits correctly to aptly cover your nose and mouth. It needs to be replaced every eight hours or whenever it gets damp or wet.
Don't touch the side of the face mask when you remove it and dispose of it correctly. Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or sanitize with 70% alcohol before touching any part of your face.
For more stories on COVID-19, please click here.