By Ma. Teresa Montemayor

(PNA file photo)

MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) is not considering the reimplementation of the face mask mandate despite the increase in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases.

In recent weeks, the country’s positivity rate, or the number of people testing positive for Covid-19, increased to 7.6 percent from last week’s 6.9 percent.

The average daily Covid-19 infections also rose to 371 cases per day from last week’s 276.

“This is voluntary. Wala pang napag-uusapan sa ngayon (Nothing is being discussed about it at the moment),” DOH Officer in Charge Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a media briefing on Tuesday.

Vergeire said the opening of various sectors of the economy could be one of the factors for the increase in cases.

“We encourage everybody, kahit naman po noon, na tayo po ay piliin natin, na alam natin kung kailan tayo magma-mask (even before, to choose, to know when to wear face masks),” she said.

Citing early guidelines on face mask-wearing, she advised the elderly, people with co-morbidities, and individuals in crowded areas and places with poor ventilation to wear masks for protection.

She also assured that the nation’s health system is “prepared” to accommodate Covid-19 cases needing medical attention.

To date, the country has logged more than 4.08 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 66,420 deaths.

A total of 78,443,972 Filipinos have been vaccinated against Covid-19 while 23,811,248 have received booster shots. (PNA)