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In light of the threat posed by the Omicron version, the return of the face shield policy is being considered.

As many countries strive to avoid the introduction of the new Omicron Covid-19 version, Filipinos may be obliged to wear face shields once more.

During a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night, members of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases advised this.

Despite the drop in Covid-19 instances, Duque believes that the healthcare system needs to be prepared for the “worst-case scenario,” especially given the spread of the “heavily modified” Omicron form in other nations.

“Let’s take advantage of our low number of cases and prepare the health systems capacity for the worst-case scenario if there is a sustained high community transmission on a count of this likely Omicron variant introduction in our country,” Duque said.

In the event of a case increase owing to the newly discovered Omircon variety, the government will reimpose the previous pandemic reaction, he stressed.

“Even if it’s limited, for as long as it’s complete the โ€” at least what we know now โ€” at the very least to avoid,” he said.

According to Duterte, the government may mandate citizens to wear face shields as “additional precaution” against the infection.

“I would advise the task force to make a statement โ€” whether or not to โ€” ‘pag magdating itong Omicron na ‘to (if the Omicron arrives) because we have a depth of data dito sa ano (of this), in the meantimeโ€” it prudence or just dictate na (that) maybe we would restrict again,” he said.

The IATF has been tasked by Duterte to “sort out” the possibility of reimposing the face shield requirement.

Meanwhile, Secretary Eduardo Ao of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) stated that the face shield requirement was not completely eliminated as part of the Covid-19 response strategy.

According to Ao, the policy on face shields was recently incorporated into the nationwide Alert Level System.

Face shields are “optional” in locations where warning levels 1 to 3 are in effect.

When placed under alert lever 4, local government units have the authority to compel the use of a face shield.

Face shields are “required” when alert level 5 is activated.

“However, ‘pag pumasok po yung Omicron at tumaas po yung alert level iniimpose po natin yan,” Ao remarked.

However, Ao stated that if the Omicron variety is officially identified in the country, the policy will “maybe change.”

He said the DILG will issue a tighter directive through the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to reinforce border control procedures to ensure the country is free of the Omicron coronavirus variety.

According to Secretary of Transportation Arthur Tugade, precautions should always begin with stopping the virus from entering the country.

The World Health Organization (WHO) cautioned that “if another big increase of Covid-19 occurs triggered by Omicron, effects may be catastrophic” during a special session of the global health agency that began Monday.

“The overall worldwide risk associated with the novel VOC (a variation of concern) Omicron is classified as very high,” according to the WHO.

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