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    Philippine ministry wants face mask rule extended until end of 2022

    ANN/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER – The Department of Health (DoH) yesterday recommended the wearing of face masks until the end of the year.

    Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said face masks protected people not only from Covid-19 but from other diseases as well.

    “As part of the DoH and a medical doctor, I would say that I would still recommend until the end of the year,” she said on ANC’s Headstart when asked if the mask mandate will stay until the end of the year.

    “You know the mask did not only protect us against Covid-19. It also protected us from other respiratory infections, even with this monkeypox. This disease, we can be protected from monkeypox by just wearing the mask,” she continued.

    Meanwhile, Vergeire criticised the provincial government of Cebu’s move to lift the wearing of masks rule while in open and outdoor spaces of the province.

    People wearing face masks in Manila. PHOTO: XINHUA

    Vergeire reiterated that face masks may be removed only when a person is eating or exercising.

    She added that while current protocols are “not very specific”, people can remove their masks when they are alone or far from other individuals outside such as when hiking or going to the beach.

    “What we’re saying now, if you as a local government would announce that to the public, that might be very risky, especially now that we are having this increase in cases, especially now that subvariants have entered the country, especially now that the country has waning immunity,” she explained.

    “So, this is something that would be perceived as their place is already relaxed from restrictions and that might be so risky for their population,” the undersecretary went on.

    Echoing Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, Malacañang said the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases’ (IATF) rule on the wearing of face masks will prevail over the provincial government’s order.

    President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said face masks will be worn until the end of his term on June 30.

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