MANILA, June 4 (Mabuhay) –Health Secretary Francisco Duque III is proposing to the incoming Marcos administration not to lift the face mask mandate even if the number of COVID-19 cases dropped to less than 200 recently.

Duque said that apart from immunizing about 70 million against COVID-19, the Duterte administration will pass on to the next administration the huge masking compliance of Filipinos.

Citing John Hopkins University, the Health chief said the population’s masking mandate compliance is at 91% to 96%.

“Huwag natin tanggalin ito muna. Premature eh (Let’s not remove it for the meantime. It’s still premature),” Duque said.

“Let’s keep it at that. ‘Wag muna natin tanggalin ang ating mga mask lalo na nag-full capacity na ang transport sector, nag-full capacity na ang establishments (Let’s keep our masks on especially now that the transport sector and establishments are at full capacity),” he added.

The Health chief stressed that despite the various super-spreader events during the elections period and the emergence of subvariants of Omicron, the number of daily cases did not surge.

“Nag-plateau tayo, mababa na ang mga kaso. Hopefully ay bumaba pa ito below 100 [cases] per day. Nakikita naman natin nasa less than 200 [per day] nitong mga nakaraang mga linggo,” Duque said.

“Ibig sabihin niyan ‘yung masking mandate natin, pagsunod ng Pilipino sa minimum public health standards ay napakamataas,” Duque said.

Duque said he is hoping the next administration will continue the face mask mandate.

This as President Rodrigo Duterte said the mandatory wearing of face masks will not be lifted in the Philippines until the end of his term.

“Ipagpatuloy na lang ng susunod na administrasyon (The next administration should continue it) … ‘wag tanggalin completely (do not remove it completely),” the Health chief said.

The Philippines logged 225 new COVID-19 infections, taking the nationwide tally to 3,691,114, according to data released by the Department of Health (DOH) on Friday.

The new cases brought the country’s active tally to 2,441.

A total of 3,628,217 patients recovered from the viral disease, while the number of deaths increased to 60,456. (MNS)

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