PH set to make face masks optional indoors

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MANILA — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is set to release an executive order making the wearing of face masks indoors voluntary a month after easing rules on wearing them outdoors.

Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco confirmed this to reporters. She said masks will still be required in public transportation and in medical settings.

In September, Marcos issued Executive Order No. 3 making wearing masks outdoors optional as well in open areas that are not too crowded. 

At the time, the Department of Health stated that it would prefer to keep wearing face masks mandatory in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. 

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, economic managers at the time pointed to the number of tourist arrivals that would increase if the mask mandates are removed.

The DOH warned at the beginning of the month that the number of Covid-19 infections could reach 4,000 to over 8,000 by the end of October if compliance with public health safeguards such as wearing face masks and maintaining physical distancing continues to drop.

Since the pandemic began in 2020, the Philippines have documented approximately four million Covid-19 infections, with over 63,000 fatalities.

Over the past week, the independent pandemic monitor OCTA Research observed a drop in positivity rates in Metro Manila and Calabarzon.

House committees to hold hearings during break

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Spread the loveMANILA – The House of Representatives has authorized for its committees to conduct hearings during the five-week congressional break, extending until late April.