Stay home? As COVID-19 spreads within families, Pinoys told to wear masks indoors

Photo: Noah Syed/Unplash
Photo: Noah Syed/Unplash

Filipinos should wear a mask and even a face shield while sheltering indoors because the coronavirus is being transmitted among family members, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said today in a televised interview.

So, what’s the point of locking down the country and ordering everyone to stay at home?

Año said that many families are getting infected with the coronavirus, regardless of their financial status. He admitted that it’s a “big challenge” to stop the spread of the virus because most Filipinos live in small homes. He suggested that people should mask up if social distancing indoors is impossible.

Read: Cover Up: Public transport commuters required to wear face shields from Aug. 15

“Let’s just think that the transmission now is within the entire family, rich or poor, the entire family is getting sick. So the most important thing is if you really can’t avoid [interacting with each other], they should wear a mask [even indoors]. Face shields are also advisable,” the government official said in English and Filipino in an interview with news program Unang Hirit.

“It’s important for our elders who live with us to be protected [from the virus]. They should wear masks, especially the poor. If possible, everyone should stay at home and if someone goes out, you should avoid him, distance yourself away from him, especially if that person went to the market or to work. That person should wear a mask [indoors] and maintain a safe distance [from other relatives],” Año added.

Año also shared his thoughts about the decision of some local government units (LGUs) to make the wearing of face shields mandatory, leading to alleged hoarding and a sudden spike in the gear’s price. Año said the wearing of face shields is needed only when a person visits a congested area.

The Department of Transport made the wearing of face shields mandatory last week in all forms of mass transportation, such as jeepneys, trains, buses, and airplanes. Earlier this month, the towns of Binangonan and Cainta required all residents to wear shields when they are out in public, on top of wearing a facemask.

Read: Cebu Pacific requires passengers to wear face shields during entire flight

“This is required in places where there are a lot of people, for example, mass transport, establishments, isolation facilities, hospitals, markets, workplaces. Places where there are a lot of people and where you cannot maintain a two-meter distance,” the Department of Interior and Local Government chief said.

“But for LGUs…if possible they shouldn’t penalize [those who aren’t wearing face shields],” Año said.

The Philippines has the most number of COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia, with 129,913 recorded yesterday, including 2,270 deaths and 67,675 recoveries. Indonesia has the second-highest number of cases in the region with 125,396.


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