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Coronavirus

Philippine Leader Eases Face Shield Requirement

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine president has agreed to ease a pandemic regulation requiring people to wear face shields on top of masks in most public areas, but health officials said they would appeal the decision as COVID-19 cases remain high in many areas.

The Philippines has made the wearing of plastic face covers mandatory since December in most public areas outside of home, including in shopping malls, transport terminals and places of worship, as an additional infection safeguard.

But compliance has been spotty and opponents have doubted its necessity and say the plastic shields dangerously obscure vision when they become moist.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said President Rodrigo Duterte agreed to require face shields only in hospitals and allowed him and other senators to remove their face shields during a Wednesday night meeting.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said he would appeal. An inter-agency body dealing with the pandemic is tasked with making an assessment and informing the president of its position.

An alarming surge in coronavirus infections has started to ease in Manila and outlying regions. Daily cases remain high and lockdowns have been reimposed in several provinces that have reported case spikes.

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