HOTEL operators and retailers on Monday said they support the continued use of face masks, especially indoors as a way to deflect the rising cases of COVID-19 infections and to keep the public safe.
In a briefing for the upcoming Philippines Furniture Furnishings Market (PFFM) trade fair in July, members of the The Hotel and Restaurant Association of the Philippines (HRAP), the Philippine Hotel Owners Association (PHOA), and the Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) agreed that people should continue to wear masks even though the World Health Organization has declared the end of the global health emergency over COVID-19.
“The mask is a very important part of our future. [The] Japan[ese] continue to wear face masks as a sign of courtesy, and it also helps to keep COVID in check,” said HRAP president Eugene Yap.
He added that masks are a vital safeguard tool to ensure safety, especially in the food service sector.
Although masks are no longer mandatory, food establishments should maintain their use, he said.
PHOA executive director Benito Bengzon, Jr. said they adhere to government guidelines and abide by minimum public health standards to keep their guests and visitors safe.
Retailers, too, said they are one with the government on implementing health protocols.
PRA president Paul Santos said they follow what the government advises for the safety of mall goers.
“If they say it is okay to take it off the masks, we follow the protocol. And if they advise to put on masks again, we will also
follow,” he said.
An infectious diseases expert, meanwhile, said that while COVID-19 is no longer considered a global health emergency, the pandemic is far
Dr. Edsel Salvana, a member of the Department of Health’s technical advisory group, said in a televised briefing that the WHO declaration
simply means that the COVID-19 situation has become manageable.
The Philippines on Sunday recorded 1,920 fresh COVID-19 cases, bringing the total since the pandemic started to 4,102,788.
The nationwide positivity rate or the percentage of tests turning out positive for COVID-19 was 19.9 percent, beyond the 5 percent WHO
Some 66,453 people have died from COVID-19 in the country.
The WHO placed the global death toll at 20 million.
In the first week of May, the Philippines recorded 9,465 COVID-19 cases, the Department of Health’s latest case bulletin said.
From May 1 to 7, an average of 1,352 daily infections were recorded in the country, which is 112 percent higher than the previous week.
Of the new infections during the week, some 50 cases were considered severe or critical, the DOH said Monday.
As of Sunday, some 410 cases or 8.2 percent of total COVID-19 admissions were in severe and critical condition, the DOH added.
At least 346 or 16.5 percent of intensive care unit beds for COVID patients were occupied. The non-ICU bed utilization rate was at 21.2
During the last week, the DOH also verified nine more COVID-related deaths.
The DOH’s COVID-19 Tracker shows the Philippines had 11,408 active COVID-19 cases as of May 7.