MANILA, Sept 19 (Mabuhay) -It is still premature to lift the mandatory use of face masks in outdoor settings as COVID-19 admissions have slightly increased since the restriction was eased, a top official of the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. (PHAPI) said.

(MNS file photo)

According to PHAPI President Dr. Jose de Grano, the public should continue to wear face masks given the continued risk of catching COVID-19.

“Kami po, kasama po ang mga karamihan sa mga medical workers, mga doktor, at saka siguro mga healthcare worker at ito pong mga hospitals, ay ang tingin po namin ay masyado pang maaga ito. But anyway, nandiyan na ang kautusan,” de Grano said.

He was responding to Executive Order 3 which was signed by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. last week, providing for the voluntary use of face masks in outdoor spaces.

De Grano said that the country has continued to report 2,000 COVID-19 cases daily in the past days, and this does not include those who opted not to get tested.

“Pinapayuhan natin ang mga kababayan, baka iniisip kasi nila na may kautusan na ganyan ay libre na po tayo, na safe na po tayo. Sa kasalukuyan po nandiyan pa rin, nandiyan pa rin po ang COVID-19 at hindi po ‘yan nawawala pa,” he said.

In terms of admissions, de Grano said that so far, if there has been any increase, these have been manageable as most of the cases reported have only had mild symptoms and were advised to recover at home.

“In another two weeks, makikita natin kung talagang tataas ulit ang number of cases at sana po ay hindi tumaas,” he said.

“Siyempre kami naman po ay handa na mag-admit ng mga pasyente kung kinakailangan,” he added.

The Philippines on Sunday reported 2,367 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the country’s active cases to 26,401.

The total caseload stood at 3,920,693, with 3,831,743 recoveries and 62,549 deaths. (MNS)