TWO more cities in Metro Cebu have lifted the requirement to wear face shields, except in medical settings, as coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases on Cebu island remain subdued.
Mayor Jonas Cortes lifted the face shield requirement in Mandaue City after he signed Executive Order (EO) 27 Friday, Nov. 12, 2021.
The EO sets the guidelines on the use of face shields as non-mandatory in the city of Mandaue except in hospital settings, medical clinics and other medical facilities.
This came after President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Sept. 22 a policy that limits the use of face shields to the 3Cs (Closed, Crowded, and Close Contact) settings and after Mandaue City recorded the highest number of vaccinated individuals in Cebu, with 70.59 percent of its eligible population having received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine as of Nov. 9.
Crowded places were defined as areas where there is a mass gathering of individuals. Close contact settings are when there is contact between individuals within six feet of each other for a total of 15 minutes, while confined and enclosed spaces are those indoor structures without open windows.
The city also received requests from the business sector to lift the wearing of the face shield as a requirement in entering establishments as this would cause additional expense to the public.
As of Nov. 11, there were only 54 active cases of Covid-19 in the city, according to the Department of Health’s website.
Options in Talisay
Talisay City residents will also no longer need to wear their face shields to enter malls and other commercial establishments after Mayor Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Gullas Jr. issued EO 011-2021 lifting the city’s face shield requirement.
But Gullas said the wearing of face shields is still required in hospitals, birthing centers; medical, dental and skin clinics; diagnostic laboratories and other medical facilities.
Gullas added that private offices or private-owned enclosed places may opt to require their guests or staff to wear face shields within their premises pursuant to their management prerogative.
In a statement posted on his Facebook page, Gullas said he decided to lift the city’s face shield requirement following requests and recommendations from various sectors, particularly the city’s business sector.
He also saw the need to scrap the face shield requirement as he considers them useless in preventing the spread of Covid-19, instead just becoming a financial burden.
But even as the face shield requirement is no longer needed, Gullas continued to reiterate the need to be vigilant, especially since Covid-19 is still around.
“Let us remember that Covid is still here and not all of us are vaccinated against it. Let’s take care not to be infected with Covid by strictly following our health protocols, particularly mask wearing, when outside the house, observing physical distancing and others,” Gullas said.
The action of the two cities follows the move of Lapu-Lapu City last Nov. 11 to drop the use of face shields, except in medical settings, while the city is classified under Alert Level 2.
Last Nov. 9, Cebu City Acting Mayor Michael Rama issued a directive lifting the requirement to wear face shields except in hospitals, clinics, diagnostic laboratories, other medical facilities and public utility vehicles, except traditional jeepneys with open windows and ventilation.
In Cebu Province, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia issued last Nov. 5 EO 43 requiring the use of face shields only in the 3Cs setting.
Alert Level 2
The whole Cebu is currently under Alert Level 2 in the Covid-19 Alert Level System where Alert Level 5 is the highest alert level reserved for areas with alarming case counts and critical bed and intensive care unit utilization rates.
Last Oct. 27, Octa Research classified Cebu City as “very low risk” for Covid-19 after its average daily attack rate was deemed low at 1.72 per 100,000 individuals per day.
The Department of Health (DOH) defines attack rate, also known as “incidence proportion,” as the proportion of an initially disease-free population that develops disease, during a specific period of time. The attack rate is calculated as the number of people who contract the disease divided by the number of people at risk for the disease/population.
The DOH Central Visayas case bulletin shows that on Nov. 11, the whole Cebu recorded just 39 new Covid-19 cases, a far cry from the over 1,000 new cases daily that it recorded for several days last August.
Vaccination against Covid-19 has helped to stem transmission.
As of Nov. 10, Mandaue City led Cebu in first-dose vaccinations against Covid-19 with 71.44 percent of its eligible population jabbed, according to statistics uploaded on Project Balik Buhay’s Facebook page gathered from all public and private sector vaccination centers in Cebu.
In Lapu-Lapu City, 70.46 percent of the eligible population had received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. In Minglanilla, it was 60.68 percent; Cebu City, 59.95 percent; Talisay City, 58.83 percent; Consolacion, 52.09 percent; and Naga City, 48.33 percent. (IRT, JKV, CTL)