By Nehmia Elyxa Relano


Following the World Health Organization's (WHO) guidelines in "high-risk settings,” the Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday is recommending the use of medical-grade surgical masks over cloth masks amid the current spike of COVID-19 cases in the country.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire advised the individuals to use surgical masks if available as these provide better protection against COVID-19 transmission as they are designed to filter organisms in the air. 

“Ang DOH ay nagrerekomenda na kung inyo namang kakayanin sa ating mga komunidad na magkaroon ng surgical mask for our community ‘yan ang gamitin natin para mas protektado tayo,” she said in an online town hall forum.

However, Vergeire noted that if individuals cannot afford to buy surgical masks, they can still use cloth masks.

“Pero kung hindi naman po kakayanin ng komunidad [ang surgical mask], cloth mask can still give protection. Hindi po natin tinatanggal 'yan sa equation,” Vergeire assured.

"It’s just that kapag kayo ay mas capable of having surgical masks, it’s more recommended for our community for this time being,” Vergeire added. 

Furthermore, Dr. Anna Ong-Lim, a member of the DOH's technical advisory group, also urged the public to wear masks properly, which means covering their noses and mouths at all times.

She also suggested wearing double cloth masks if people cannot afford to have medical-grade surgical masks.

The Philippines as of August 17, has tallied over 1.77 million COVID-19 cases including 105,787 active cases, 1,629,426 recoveries, and 30,462 deaths.