With everyone now required to wear a face mask in public, the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) earlier estimate that the country would need 600 million face masks a month could prove woefully inadequate.

The Philippines may in fact be nowhere close to a third of that initial projection since production capacity is only 20 million face masks per month, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said in a television interview on Thursday. “Our estimate is even if we do 100 million masks per month, it still won’t be enough because our estimate is that the demand is easily 600 million masks [per month],” he said.

Shift in protocol

It was not clear if the DTI already has a new projection for the demand that would take into account Resolution No. 18 of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging and Infectious Diseases.

The resolution mandated residents living under enhanced community quarantine to wear face masks, do-it-yourself masks, handker-chiefs, or other protective equipment against COVID-19 whenever they go out in public.

The requirement comes after a shift in the international health community’s earlier protocol of requiring only symptomatic people to wear face masks. Face masks are now required to be worn outside one’s home, after evidence showed that people without fever or cough could still be silent carriers of the new coronavirus disease.


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For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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