As the COVID-19 cases decrease in the Philippines, this has brought opportunities in lifting the mask mandate. Allowing individuals to have the choice of wearing or not the mask when facing the current environmental situation of the country. Individuals have the choice by analysing the risk in every situation.
According to Dr. Marissa M. Alejandria, the director of the Institute of Clinical Epidemiology at University of the Philippines Manila, one must make conscious decisions when deciding to wear face masks by considering the risk factors of every activity or place one is going to.
She added, wearing face masks especially in crowded places are highly recommended as this is the simple, practical, and effective way to prevent the spreading of the COVID-19 virus.
The Philippines has at most 1,300 ongoing COVID-19 cases and others are infected with the new variants: XBB, XBC, and BQ.1.
Dr. Alejandria said that the higher chance of decreasing the transmission rate of the virus is when people are consistent in wearing masks correctly. Especially when the primary vaccination rate in the Philippines is at least 65%, however booster rates are around 45% only, making face masks as one of the important safety measures to be followed in order to stay protected from the virus.
On the other hand, Dr Ralph Villalobos, a consultant at the division of pulmonary medicine at the UP Philippine General Hospital added that face masks can also protect one from various respiratory infectious illnesses helping patients dealing with air pollution and asthma.