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Play safe, avoid large holiday gatherings — DOH

WITH Christmas fast approaching, the Department of Health yesterday strongly reminded the public against holding large family and social gatherings which can foment COVID-19 transmission.

Health Secretary Franscisco T. Duque III said it is better to stay at home during the holidays and limit the celebration to household members only since no one can be sure where the virus may be present.

“With our current pandemic situation, any large gathering of people is considered a risk to one’s health. It would be wiser, at this time of pandemic, to simply stay at home during this Yuletide season and limit the celebration to household members only,” he stressed.

Duque further advised the public to utilize online platforms such as the social media, video messaging apps and e-commerce sites in place of the traditional holiday activities like attending masses or simbang gabi, getting in touch with relatives, and buying gifts.

“COVID-19 cases in some parts of the country may now be lower compared to previous months but this should not be a reason for complacency. Even though we see a lowering trend in the number of COVID-19 cases, this is not irreversible. We need to maintain our caution especially for the upcoming holidays. Everyone should remain vigilant as the threat of the pandemic is still here,” he said.

The health chief also urged senior citizens, especially those with weak immune systems and underlying medical conditions, who are more prone to contracting COVID-19 virus, to stay home during this Christmas season.

He also reiterated his reminder for everyone to strictly adhere to minimum public health standards to prevent COVID-19 transmission.

“As the holidays are nearing, let us do our part and be conscious of the six peligro factors during our holiday activities: the number of people, the density of people in an area which would make the observance of physical distancing difficult, the duration of the activity, ventilation of the venue, the nature of the activity, and the ability to use personal protective equipment such as face masks and face shields,” Duque stressed.