The Department of Health on Tuesday said that people in Metro Manila and northern provinces dont need to hoard N95 face masks anymore to protect themselves.
In a statement, Health Assistant Secretary Maria Laxamana confirmed that a regular face mask will be enough for people living in Metro Manila since the ashfall brought by the ‘phreatic explosion’ of Taal Volcano on Sunday ‘is not that bad.’
“Dito sa mga areas like Metro Manila, Region 3, ‘yung mga areas na naabot ng ashfall, puwede naman po tayong gumamit ng not necessarily the N95 but we can use the regular surgical mask. Hindi po gaano katindi ‘yung ashfall so nag-panic lang po talaga ‘yung mga tao nung nagbilihan ng N95,” Laxamana said.
Several stores reportedly ran out of N95 face masks on Sunday after the Taal Volcano spewed gray ash and hot steam. It also caused a commotion among the public as reports of inhaling ash could lead to cough and difficulty in breathing and could also irritate the eyes.
Laxamana then urged people in Metro Manila to refrain from hoarding N95 face masks since those residing closer to the volcano need it more.
“Huwag po tayong mag-panic. Huwag na po muna tayo mag N95 dito sa Metro Manila, ibigay nalang natin sa ating mga kababayan sa areas ng Batangas at Cavite,” she said.
Earlier, Manila Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna-Pangan said that she received reports of people selling face masks for Php 200 from Php 25 to Php 30.