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No Need For Face Shield Requirement Versus Omicron – WHO

No Need For Face Shield Requirement Versus Omicron – WHO
World Health Organization country representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe

The World Health Organization (WHO) rejected on Tuesday, Nov. 30, the idea of mandating face shields again, saying the transmission of Omicron variant is not yet known.

In a public briefing, WHO country representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe has reiterated that COVID-19 is not airborne and it is transmitted through close contacts.

“The requirement for face shields probably at this point of time is not mandatory because as I said, we are still looking at understanding the transmission dynamics of the Omicron variant,” he noted.

Abeyasinghe said to avoid contracting COVID-19, “what is important is the physical distancing” and wearing of face masks and the hand hygiene.

He also underscored that people should not congregate in close settings, among other health protocols.

“So, I think it will be premature now to go there and say we need to reintroduce face shields because we also know that there is significant public discontent on the mandatory use of face shields,” he said.

He added it is “better to get public compliance” with the existing measures against COVID-19. 

The country has yet to detect a case of the heavily mutated coronavirus variant, but officials said the government may again require the public to wear face shields for extra protection.

“It’s better to get public compliance with the measures that are there, and risk-based approach to re-analyze whether we need to go into the use of face shields or not,” he said.

The use of face shields is required only in areas under the most stringent Alert Level 5, as well as healthcare and quarantine facilities.

Officials have since clarified that employers and commercial establishments may opt to require the use of face shields in their respective premises.

The United Nations health agency is also not supporting the proposal to make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory.

“WHO has always taken the stance that we are not mandating vaccines. People should be free to decide what’s best for them but we have strongly advocated that people, particularly people at risk, are prioritized and provided with vaccines, because we know that vaccines are life-saving and capable of protecting people from severe diseases,” Abeyasinghe said.

President Duterte said on Monday, Nov. 29, he could compel Filipinos to get inoculated against COVID-19 under the police power of the State.

Acting presidential spokesman Karlo Nograles said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases is still discussing the proposal. But he stressed a new law is needed to enforce mandatory vaccination. – With