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Face masks mandatory when outside homes starting today

By Rey Anthony Chiu, PIA-Bohol | 10:35 AM March 26, 2020

Anyone coming out of their homes beginning Thursday, March 26, 2020, at 5:00 AM, should have a face mask as a self- protection and community protection from the dreaded coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

In fact, when one is not wearing a facemask, barangay officials and in coordination with the members of the Philippine National Police, who are tasked to monitor and enforce the order can use provisions of local ordinances, to penalize the violators.

This as Bohol Governor Arthur Yap signed Executive Order No. 15, series of 2020 imposing such mandate.

The EO also mandates that private and government offices to deny entry of any person not wearing a face mask.

The violation however becomes a problem too huge to contain, because when one does not have a mask, he could contract the virus outside and unwittingly bring it back home, exposing all family members and his immediate community of the risk.

With the same EO, the governor is going the length, in strengthening the community and the mandatory self-quarantine and in enhancing the curfew which shrouded Bohol, amidst the threat of a novel virus that has since killed over 50 Filipinos, infected thousands and buckled the strongest and most powerful countries.

Clearly underprepared, instead of toppling into indecision, Bohol is not balking from the challenge of denying coronavirus disease a hold here.

With still a good number of Boholanos not taking the frantic calls for home quarantines seriously, Gov. Yap, who has seen the danger this kind of indifference of loitering and hanging out publicly, and not wearing a self-protection like a face mask, may lend to Bohol, has issued this order installing reverse isolation.

By reverse isolation, it means imposing the mandatory use of face-masks at all times in all public places beginning Thursday.

By face masks, the Executive Order means anything from the reusable, washable or improvised to the disposable masks to be worn at all times, in all public places.

According to authorities, while the face masks called particulate respirator or the N95 are most effective protection against the virus, with the limited supply, these are reserved for health professionals who are taking care of sick.

For the general public, the surgical masks are already sufficient, a health education promotions officer said.

And since the DOH has found out that the COVID is not airborne, a cloth face mask, which is washable and reusable as well as easy-to-improvise, is advised.

This, while there are no confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Bohol, the rapid increase of confirmed cases throughout the country presents a compelling need to impose additional control measures to prevent the spread of such disease and keep Bohol Covid-19-free, the EO states.

The governor also said testing kits take time to evaluate and the number of infected cases continues to pile up that by the Department of Health’s estimate, there could be hundreds of infected cases that remain unaccounted for.

In Bohol, even with the express mandates to maintain social and physical distancing, travel restrictions for inbound travelers to Bohol and curfew, the sheer number of potential victims could be staggering it could blow the system when the virus gains entry.

Considering the number of local Patients under Monitoring, even with a 5% escalation of their conditions, Bohol would experience a sheer lack of hospital beds and facilities enough to aggravate the situation to COVID, the governor pointed out.

Boholanos need to keep each other safe by mandatory wearing face masks, the governor in the OE stated.

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