THE UST administration strongly recommended the continued use of face masks in indoor spaces on campus even as the national government has made mask-wearing voluntary.

In a memorandum, UST Secretary General Fr. Louie Coronel, O.P. urged Thomasians to continue wearing face masks in “enclosed spaces and indoor areas where ventilation may be compromised.”

“As the number of Covid-19 cases continues to increase with the reported local transmissions of Omicron sub-variants XBB and XBC, wearing of face mask plays an important role in reducing the risk of infection,” he said.

The proper wearing of face masks, Coronel said, would help prevent the spread and transmission of disease and benefit vulnerable populations such as persons with co-morbidities and senior citizens.

Thomasians and other campus visitors must still observe minimum health protocols, such as social distancing and frequent hand sanitizing, Coronel said.

Coronel also advised Thomasians to get Covid-19 vaccine booster shots. 

“For additional protection, immunization with Covid-19 booster doses must be completed at the soonest possible time,” he said.

The University’s new masking policy came a week after President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. signed Executive Order (EO) No. 7 on Oct. 28, which made the wearing of face masks voluntary in indoor settings except in healthcare facilities, medical transport vehicles, and public transportation.

Those with co-morbidities and other vulnerable people are still “encouraged” in the EO to wear masks.

Earlier, Marcos removed the mask mandate for open spaces, outdoor areas, and crowded spaces with good ventilation, a move UST has adopted.

Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, O.P., a visiting professor at the UST Department of Biological Sciences, earlier told the Varsitarian that lifting the mask mandate should depend on people’s knowledge about protecting themselves against the virus, such as getting vaccinated and booster shots and wearing masks if they are vulnerable.

According to the Department of Health, there were 18,085 active Covid-19 cases in the country as of Nov. 4.

More than 73.5 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Of the number, 20.6 million have received their booster doses. Alexandra L. Mangasar


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