The Philippine government is considering returning the face shield policy, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Sunday.

In a virtual presser, Galvez said government officials including Health Secretary Francisco Duque III were in support of reinstating the face shield requirement.

“We will look at the possibility. ‘Yan nga ang inaano ni Secretary Duque—he is pro na maibalik ‘yung any protections na pwede natin gamitin,” Galvez said.

To recall, President Rodrigo Duterte reimposed the face shield policy in June due to the emergence of the Delta Covid-19 variant.

Galvez said “some people” from the World Health Organization (WHO) also believed that face shields were effective in preventing the spread of Covid-19.

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

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.

The Omicron variant has yet to be detected in the Philippines.

Omicron, or the B.1.1.529 variant, has been declared a variant of concern by the WHO.

It was first detected in South Africa.

“This variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning. Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other [variants of concern],” the WHO said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro