By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos
MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has reminded his fellow Filipinos to continue wearing face masks, telling them that the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) remains a threat to public health.
Despite the continued drop in coronavirus infections, Duterte said Covid-19 is still “alive” and “kicking.”
The proper use of face mask is still necessary to protect the public against the dreaded disease, Duterte said in his prerecorded Talk to the People aired Wednesday morning.
“Itong (This) Covid is still here. And one of the best defenses that we, humans, really have adopted to is the wearing of the mask,” he said.
Duterte said face mask would serve as the public’s weapon against the “uncontrolled” spread of Covid-19.
“Maski na mag-abot tayo ng zero (Even if there are no longer Covid-19 cases in the country), it is good to just wear the mask kasi ‘yun lang ang makakatigil ng talagang (because that can really stop the) widespread uncontrolled contamination,” he said.
Duterte also attributed the significant drop in Covid-19 cases to the high vaccination turnout in the country.
A total of 64,660,228 Filipinos are now fully vaccinated, National Task Force Against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. told Duterte.
Galvez said around 8,766,899 of the 64,660,228 fully vaccinated Filipinos belong to the 12-17 age group.
From March 7 to 13, the Philippines logged 4,131 new Covid-19 cases.
Metro Manila and 47 other areas in several parts of the country have been placed under Alert Level 1 from March 16 to 31.
Duterte stressed the need to continue observing the minimum public health standards even after the most lenient Alert Level 1 has been implemented in some parts of the country.
“I suppose that until we’re in zero, we just maintain the [Alert] Level 1. And wear the mask. Importante talaga iyan (That’s really important). You just maintain. Make it a habit. Make it a habit to wear mask para mas maganda. Iyan ang tandaan ninyo (that’s better. Remember that),” he said.
Under Alert Level 1, movement of persons regardless of age and comorbidities is allowed, but with restrictions on crowded and closed spaces and close contact (3Cs) settings.
Private establishments and government agencies can also operate at full on-site capacity, subject to minimum public health standards. (PNA)