By T. Cabrera
Outgoing health secretary Francisco Duque III. (Photo: Abogado)
MANILA — Even as the Department of Health reported as of Saturday, June 4, that there is no surge in new Covid-19 cases in the country and hospitals are “not overwhelmed” by Covid cases, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Monday disclosed he will convince the next administration of President-in-waiting Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. to retain the policy of wearing face masks as part of its minimum health safety requirement.
“While it would be up to the next administration to set up their own Covid-19 protocols, there is a need to ‘build on the gains of the outgoing (Duterte) administration in terms of the pandemic response. We will still convince them (the next administration) to continue on and build on the gains of this administration,” Duque stressed.
As far as the outgoing administration is concerned, the health chief cited that the face mask requirement will stay until President Duterte steps down from the presidency on June 30, 2022.
According to Duque, Filipinos’ compliance with the wearing of masks “synergizes” the government’s efforts in curbing the spread of the virus and he added that this policy requirement was among the reasons behind the country’s increased ranking in Nikkei Asia’s latest Covid-19 Recovery Index, where the Philippines climbed to the 33rd spot among 120 nations affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
“It really synergizes or compliments our vaccination to curb the transmission. That’s why it is no wonder that our transmission rate is very low,” Duque pointed out.
He likewise cited the government’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout, noting that 77 percent of the country’s target population of around 90 million have already completed their primary vaccination series. (ai/mtvn)