Masks and face shields, the “new normal” in the Philippines

Masks and face shields, the “new normal” in the Philippines

Manila | In the sweltering, humid heat, 31-year-old Caitlyn Tojanes struggles to endure the face shield she wears in addition to her mask so she can catch the bus in Manila.

“It's uncomfortable. The queues are long and when we arrive at work, we are already tired and sweating, ”complains the 30-something whose daily commute takes several hours.

But, like many Filipinos, she resigned herself to this return to “a new normal”.

Wearing a mask as well as a protective plastic visor has become mandatory in public transport and indoor public spaces to fight the pandemic.

“With the Covid, it is up to the population to be disciplined,” however, believes Ms. Tojanes, manager of a store in Manila.

Most of the coronavirus cases in the country have been identified in the sprawling capital, which has a population of 12 million.

“People shouldn't rely on government alone. We must also show self-discipline, ”she said.

This new measure was put in place to try to curb the epidemic in the Philippines, which is recording the largest number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Southeast Asia.

More than 283,000 people have been infected with the coronavirus and 4,900 have died from it.

Six months after the implementation of draconian restriction measures, including the obligation to stay at home, the ban on travel and speaking on buses and trains, the number of daily cases continues to grow.

However, some measures have been relaxed in order to revive the devastated economy.

“It's a big change to have to wear a mask lined with a visor, to wash your hands with hydroalcoholic solution every time you touch something,” admits Jeff Langurayan, 31, his voice slightly muffled. by the superimposition of fabric and plastic which now cover his face.

But he willingly submits to this luxury of precautions.

“A lot of people have passed away and you don't know what will hit you and what effect it will have on your body.”

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