Philippine authorities on Wednesday warned that more people would be arrested for failing to wear masks in public and could face up to 30 days in prison.
The warning is coming as the government steps up enforcement of anti-coronavirus restrictions.
The Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, warned that government would start arresting more people now.
“Lets this be a warning to all, please listen and follow the protocols,“Malaya said.
According to Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano, the Violators of quarantine protocols will also face a fine of up to 5,000 pesos (or 100 dollars after meeting with Local Government officials to discuss standard penalties.
“There will be a uniform implementation of health standards and number of days in prison if you violate and don’t wear a mask.
“We suggest 10 to 30 days, for physical distancing also 10 to 30 days imprisonment,” he said.
National police spokesman Bernard Banac noted that while most Filipinos usually wore face masks while going out, some still do not follow the protocol, while others do not wear them properly.
“People are allowed to briefly take off their masks to eat or drink, but if they are unable to show their masks when inspected, they will be arrested,” Banac said.
Earlier, Duterte called on police and Local Government officials to be more strict in enforcing regulations.
“Under ordinary times, a simple violation of not wearing masks seems to be trivial. But during times of health issues, you can make arrests because it can be a serious crime,” he said.
The Department of Health reported on Wednesday 1,594 additional COVID-19.
The national tally is 72,269, while the death toll was 1,843, with six more deaths reported.
Health Undersecretary Maria Vergeire, reminded the public that not all masks were reusable, after Duterte said that people could just wash their masks with disinfectant or alcohol.
“Surgical masks and N95 masks are for single use only. You cannot wash them because if you do, its filtering mechanism will be destroyed.
“The filtering effect will be lost and they will no longer be effective in filtering viruses.”
Vergeire said Duterte must also be joking when he advised Filipinos to use gasoline for disinfection.
“If you don’t have Lysol or alcohol, just soak it in gasoline or diesel.
“If you want to disinfect, look for gasoline. Soak your hand in there. Just don’t do it inside the house,”