You may want to pay attention if you're the "chosen one" in your household tasked with going out to get fresh supplies. Face masks are now mandatory for all people out in public during the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon for COVID-19, as announced by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on April 2.
According to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, all kinds of makeshift face masks—"earloop masks, indigenous, reusable or do-it-yourself masks, face shields, handkerchiefs, or such other protective equipment"—can be used. This is to "effectively lessen the transmission of COVID-19, whenever allowed to go out of their residences," he added. Under the enhanced community quarantine guidelines, only one member of a household is allowed to go out to get basic needs.
It will be up to local government units to ensure the directive is followed. Even before face masks were made mandatory in public, several supermarkets in Metro Manila had already enforced a "No Mask, No Entry" rule for buyers.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has stood by their recommendation that only the sick wear face masks, according to a CNN report. "There is no specific evidence to suggest that the wearing of masks by the mass population has any potential benefit," said. Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization (WHO) health emergencies program. Ryan added that the global shortage may mean that the people who need it most—health workers and other frontliners—will have less access to these face masks.