Experts still urge mask-wearing amid lifted COVID-19 emergency

Health experts urged the public to still wear face masks despite the lifting of the Philippines’ COVID-19 public health emergency.

According to a “24 Oras” report by Lei Alviz, whether there is a policy or not, experts still encouraged the public, especially seniors, those with comorbidities, and the immunocompromised, to use face masks.

Meanwhile, establishments were also advised to have their own health and safety protocols.

“The lifting of the public health emergency doesn’t mean wala na pong COVID. This will now be our decision as a person when we know if we are at risk then we have to protect ourselves by wearing the face mask,” said Dr. Rontgene Solante, Philippine College of Physicians President.

The Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. said private hospitals can decide whether to still require masks in their facilities but the bed allocation in the hospitals for COVID-19 would remain.

Meanwhile, health workers called for the release of the COVID-19 benefits and allowances that have not yet been granted.

“Sana mabigay na yung mga arrears ng COVID benefits, at the same time sana mag-focus din si President Bongbong Marcos sa chronic understaffing, yung mababang sahod ng health workers and at the same time yung contractualization,” said Alliance of Health Workers National President Robert Mendoza.

“Ang kinakatakot ng ating health workers, eh baka magkalimutan sa private hospitals ang kokonti po, hindi po full ang benefits ang nabigay sa kanila,” said Dr. Jose Rene De Grano.

The Department of Health (DOH) had declared earlier that “all established medical protocols are henceforth lifted (EUA) pertaining to vaccines and the payment of outstanding dues for the Health Emergency Allowance.” — Sherylin Untalan/DVM, GMA Integrated News

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