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Philippines recommends dumping of mask mandates

September 9, 2022 Philippines Crime & Legal

The Philippines’ Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has recommended the removal of outdoor mask mandates and limiting such mandates indoors to selected areas.

In what shapes as yet another positive move for the local tourism and hospitality industry, the Department of Health (DOH) said Wednesday that the IATF had called for an easing of mask mandates due to recent studies which showed a direct correlation between the easing of mask policies and rising tourism numbers in jurisdictions such as Singapore.

While the recommendation is not yet policy, the government’s Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said President Ferdinand Marcos Jr was already open to the proposal pending the implementation of suitable protocols.

“Let’s just say he’s optimistic for now,” Cruz-Angeles said, as per the Philippine News Agency. “It’s better if it will come from him but right now we think the reception is optimistic.

“We are balancing the economy and public health. Let’s give the President some time to consider these two interests and we will articulate his policy as soon as an approval or disapproval or modification of the proposed policy comes out.”

DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said the dropping of face mask mandates would initially be only for low-risk individuals and in low-risk settings, with a pilot study to be conducted on optional mask use indoors.

“We are now gathering pieces of evidence, we’re also creating a concept paper where and how the pilot study will be implemented,” Vergeire said.

The Philippines reopened its borders to international tourists in February, eased capacity restrictions in March and ended all lockdowns in April as it transitioned to living with COVID-19.

It was recently reported by the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) that, since the easing of restrictions, international travel to the Philippines has returned to around 70% of 2019 levels.

Source: https://www.asgam.com/index.php/2022/09/08/philippines-recommends-dumping-of-mask-mandates/
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