Guv: Use of air purifiers for added protection only

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CEBU Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia clarified Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021 that the air purifiers she required for public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers and conductors is merely for “added protection” against Covid-19.

Garcia made the clarification after she drew flak for including the provision in her Executive Order No. 35-D.

The Department of Health also said on Aug. 16, 2021 that it does not recommend the use of wearable air purifiers as these are not proven to be effective in reducing Covid-19 transmission and may even give a false sense of security.

During her press conference at the Capitol on Aug. 17, Garcia said even though she has required PUV drivers and conductors to carry air purifiers, she continues to emphasize that existing health protocol such as wearing masks and face shields, proper handwashing and promoting social distancing, among others, are still the best measures against Covid-19.

“The use of personal air purifier and hepa filters, we are employing as an added protection,” Garcia said.

But Garcia said for a year since the country started implementing minimum health protocol during the pandemic, Covid-19 remains present.

Garcia even disclosed that it was President Rodrigo Duterte himself who encouraged her to use air purifiers.

Even senators, congressmen and Cabinet officials were also using air purifiers as an added measure against Covid-19, she added.

Garcia said air purifiers were necessary especially in public transportation wherein Covid-19 often spreads from person to person.

She also clarified that only drivers and conductors of air-conditioned buses and minibuses are required to wear air purifiers while drivers and conductors of traditional public utility jeepneys (TPUJs) and tricycles are exempted from the requirement.

Aside from following health and safety measures, Garcia also urged the public to continue following other measures such as observing proper personal hygiene, taking vitamins, proper diet and adequate rest.

Meanwhile, the Cebu Provincial Government will also distribute vitamins to PUV drivers and conductors in the Province as part of Garcia’s advocacy of “improving the immune system through science and technology.”

Garcia said they plan to distribute tablets of Vitamin C with Zinc, Vitamin B complex and Vitamin D-3 with Calcium for a month to PUV drivers and conductors.

On Monday, the Cebu Provincial Government moved to Aug. 25 the implementation of the directive to use air purifiers in air-conditioned PUVs due to lack of supply.

Garcia had initially set the implementation for Aug. 16. (MVE / JKV)

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