An analyst on Saturday urged the public to wear face masks even in open spaces as the Philippines experiences a high COVID-19 positivity rate.
From September 25 to 30, the country’s positivity rate was at 15.2 percent, three times higher than the 5-percent benchmark set by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The country is only testing an average of less than 20,000 daily.
“I’m hopeful that the surge in cases will go down eventually. But it would also really [require] that as individuals, we realize that what we do as citizens is more important than any government program in the fight against COVID,” Professor Ranjit Rye of OCTA Research Group said in an interview on ANC.
“That means being vigilant, that means considering wearing of the mask during times of high positivity,” he added.
Rye said that commuters must keep wearing face masks at all times inside public transportation.
This, as the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has again allowed standing passengers inside public utility vehicles. “They’re actually quite necessary now especially since we have a new ruling on public transportation. We have public transportation where more people can come in. These are situations where we need to wear a mask – the high-risk situation… The risk of getting sick is quite high,” he said.
Rye, however, admitted that the increase in cases cannot be automatically associated with the easing of the face mask rule.
But experts in OCTA, he said, believe that waning immunity, massive mobility of people with the resumption of in-person classes, the public’s low compliance with the minimum public health standards, and the spread of more contagious variants are driving the spike.
“We are not where we’re supposed to be there yet as a country in terms of immunity. We still need to sustain this booster program,” he said.