Malacañang on Wednesday said the wearing of face shields in areas under Alert Level 2 would remain optional, despite the threat of the infectious Omicron Covid-19 variant.

Acting Palace spokesman Karlo Nograles said President Rodrigo Duterte had not changed the country’s face shield policy.

Duterte in November approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases to scrap the mandatory use of face shields in areas under Alert Level 1 to 3.

For areas under Alert Level 4, the requirement of face shields is up to local government units and private establishments.

Only in areas under Alert Level 5 is the use of face shields in “community settings” mandatory.

“Ang paalala lang ni pangulo is if you want to be really fully protected, bagama’t voluntary pa iyong face shields, that is an added layer of protection against Covid whatever variant including iyong Omicron variant,” Nograles said.

The Philippines has detected three cases of Omicron to date. John Ezekiel J. Hirro