Commuter Group supports DOTr’s mandatory use of face shields

A commuter group is supporting the Department of Transportation’s mandatory use of face shields  for passengers and drivers of public transportation to cur the transmission of the COVID-19.

“Based on  our data, many of the reported positive cases of COVID-19 originated from users of public transportation. Thus, we are prompting everyone to follow the new order, as well as further proposals of the DOTr. It is important that we all strictly abide by the rule, especially our commuting public,” National Center for Commuter’s Safety and Protection (NCCSP) Chairperson Elvira Medina  said.

On the side of the commuting public, Medina attests that the use of face shields has already been in practice among commuters, as they themselves are aware that they are at most risk to contracting the disease. In fact, prior to the release of the requirement, NCCSP has been in discussion on a proposal for the imposed use of face shields with the Philippine Medical Association (PMA). She emphasized that many sectors are in support of the DOTr’s new mandate.

“The use of face shields will further strengthen the existing health protocols for the safety of Filipino commuters who now comply with the standard practice of social distancing and use of face masks,” Medina said. 

According to the DOTr, health experts from Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) advised on the added use of face shields on top of the use of face masks and the strict observation of social distancing measures, as it will help in lessening the chances of infection following the spike of COVID-19 cases.

Data from a study on the Estimated Risk Reduction of Contracting COVID-19 per Intervention showed that the use of a face shield and face mask while observing the one-meter social distancing has reduced the risk of contracting to at most 99%. Meanwhile, the use of a face mask with the face shield only goes as high as 93 percent on risk reduction.

Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade urged commuters to view the new requirement as another necessary layer of protection against the infection, rather than as an additional expense.

“Huwag sana nating isipin na panibagong gastusin o dagdag abala ang pag-require natin sa paggamit ng face shield. Let us remember that no amount of protection is too much when it comes to health and safety, especially that we are battling an invisible enemy,” Tugade said.

The newly issued Memorandum Circular No. 2020-14 dictates that the public will be required to wear face shields in order to be permitted to travel, be it on land, sea, or air. In areas under modified enhanced community quarantine, the new requirement will promptly take effect upon reallowing of public transportation after August 18.

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