Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo on Wednesday urged his fellow Filipinos to wear two face masks to protect themselves against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

In his commentary show “Counterpoint,” Panelo said doctors have recommended the practice of double masking to give people additional protection against the new and more transmissible coronavirus variants.

“Kung maaari lang po, tayo ay maging conscious in wearing our face mask. Doble na po ang mga mask natin sapagkat sabi ng mga doctor po, kailangan mag-doble ka na kasi ang mga variant na iyan eh matindi. Baka meron kang mask na isa, eh makapasok pa (Let us be more conscious in wearing our face mask. Let’s observe double masking because doctors have said we need to double our masks because the new variants are more infectious),” Panelo said.

Panelo made the call amid the continuing spike in Covid-19 infections in the country.

On Wednesday, the Department of Health (DOH) logged 6,666 new confirmed cases, increasing the total active Covid-19 cases to 91,754. It also recorded 1,072 new recoveries and 47 deaths, bringing the overall tally of recoveries to 579,518 and the death toll to 13,039.

To curb the spread of the coronavirus nationwide, Panelo reiterated his call on the public to observe two-meter physical distancing, wash their hands regularly, avoid touching their face, eat nutritious food, drink plenty of water, and have enough sleep.

“Be sure you have a healthy body,” he said. “Iyan lang naman po ang solusyon sa surge sa coronavirus (That is the only solution to stop the surge in coronavirus cases).”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in its official website, has proposed adding more layers to a face mask to stop the further transmission of Covid-19.

The CDC has advised the public to wear a disposable mask underneath a cloth mask. It has discouraged them from combining two disposable face masks, as well as combining a KN95 mask with any other mask.

Panelo expressed dismay that despite the government’s repeated reminders, Filipinos tend to forget to follow the minimum public health standards.

He said the public’s apparent defiance contributed to the upward trend in coronavirus infections in the country.

“Nagkakalimutan kaya we make it a point we keep on repeating kahit na nayayamot na akong mapakinggan ‘yung sarili kong inuulit ko. We have to repeat it like yung paggamit ng face mask. Eh hindi ho kasi natutupad yun (They forget so we make it a point we keep on repeating the reminders even if it is already annoying. We have to repeat it, like the wearing of face mask because it is not being fully implemented),” Panelo said.

Panelo also warned that quarantine violators would face arrest.

“Huwag na tayong maghintay sa pagkakataon na mapagsabihan pa tayo o kaya baka arestuhin pa tayo dahil nagiging masyado na tayong makulit (Let us not wait for that moment that we will either be warned or apprehended because we are disobeying the rules),” he said.

The Philippine National Police has arrested a total of 1,449 violators on March 15, the first day of the re-implementation of curfew hours in Metro Manila.

Due to a spike in Covid-19 cases in the country, President Rodrigo Duterte was also forced to approve the recommendation to impose additional restrictions in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal until April 4. (PNA)