The wearing of face shields in addition to face masks in places outside of residences is now mandatory, Malacanang announced Tuesday.
“Face shields used to be required only in malls and enclosed areas but now you need to wear both face shields and face masks,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in Filipino.
The penalty for violating this guideline will be up to local governments, he added.
Roque, also the spokesman for the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), said the requirement would stay as long as there is no vaccine against COVID-19 in the country.
The additional safety protocol was imposed due to the expected surge in COVID-19 cases over the holidays, when people go out of their homes to do shopping or to meet friends and relatives.
The Philippines logged 1,135 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the total to 451,839, the Department of Health (DOH) reported.
This is the 16th straight day that the number of new cases announced is below 2,000, and the fourth straight day below 1,500.
The top cities and provinces with new cases were Rizal Province, 117; Bulacan, 84; Quezon City, 71; Isabela, 39; and Laguna, 38.
The DOH reported 173 persons new recoveries, bringing total recoveries to 418,867, which is 92.7 percent of the total.
The DOH also reported 56 new fatalities, bringing the death toll to 8,812, which is 1.95 percent of the total.
That left 24,160 active cases, which is 5.3 percent of the total number of cases. Of the active cases, 84.7 percent are mild; 6.4 percent are asymptomatic; 5.7 percent are critical; 2.9 percent are severe; and 0.30 percent are moderate.
Private hospitals are prepared to admit COVID-19 patients in the event of a surge following holiday celebrations, officials said Tuesday.
Members of the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. have experienced a decrease in admission of virus patients in recent weeks but are prepared should cases rise, said the group’s president, Jose Rene de Grano.
“Hospitals are ready to admit patients, we have a mandate that supposedly 20 percent of our bed capacity is allocated to COVID patients," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
Addressing concerns that people might catch COVID-19 by visiting a hospital, De Grano said hospitals are safer than public places such as malls because medical staff follow strict health protocols, and COVID cases are separated from non-COVID areas.
Dr. Maricar Limpin, vice president of the Philippine College of Physicians said medical workers were ready to address the needs of patients in the event of a surge.
Limpin urged the public to observe physical distancing, wear face masks and face shields, and conduct holiday celebrations outdoors to reduce the risk of virus infection.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Debold Sinas, meanwhile, warned the public that people who attend parties during the Christmas season will be arrested.
"Yes, bawal… Bawal ang party…" Sinas said when asked by reporters on Monday if he would immediately order the arrest of party-goers.
"We issued the directive based on the IATF that no parties should be there but dinners were not prohibited,” he said in a mix of Filipino and English.
“A dinner is a party, too, but you have to observe what is required.”
Earlier, the PNP chief announced that Christmas parties are prohibited in all units of the police force to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Sinas himself drew public criticism in May after photos of his birthday celebration—in violation of quarantine restrictions — circulated on social media.