DOH advises caution for the holidays

Published November 5, 2020, 4:46 PM

by Analou de Vera

The Department of Health (DOH) advised the public to be cautious with the different activities during the holiday season amid the still ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

In an online forum on Thursday, Nov. 5, DOH-Health Promotion Policy and Technology Unit head Rodely Carza identified activities that are considered as “high-risk” for COVID-19 transmission. 

Carza said that included among activities considered high risk are “shopping in crowded markets, tiangges, Christmas bazaars, and shopping malls.” 

Also considered as high risk are “indoor gathering of a large group of people; and involves risky actions such as singing, shouting, dancing and the likes,” said Carza. 

“Attending in-person religious activities held in indoor, enclosed spaces with the number of participants exceeding that of the recommended limit” is also considered as high-risk, said Carza.

Meanwhile, activities that are deemed as “moderate risk” during the Christmas season are outdoor, small group gatherings where physical distancing is observed and are guided by the restriction on mass gatherings. 

Attending online masses, virtual gathering with family and friends not living in the same household, and online shopping for holiday presents are among the activities that are considered as “low risk” for COVID-19 transmission. 

The DOH also issued Department Circular No. 2020-0355 or the “Reiteration of the Minimum Public Health Standards for COVID-19 Mitigation during the Holidays.”

It suggests limiting the number of people that would attend certain gatherings or activities. It also suggests that the attendees of such should be from the same household. 

It is also suggested to keep the activity as short as possible. Attendees must also observe minimum health standards such as wearing a face mask, keeping physical distance, avoiding contact with “high-touch” surfaces, and ensuring cleanliness.  

COVID-19 case update

For three consecutive days already, the DOH also recorded another less than 2,000 COVID-19 cases on Thursday, Nov. 5.

According to the latest case bulletin, 1,594 new individuals were found to have contracted the disease. This brought the country’s cumulative caseload to 389,725, of which, 32,773 are active cases. 

The City of Manila was the top area that logged the most number of new cases at 253, followed by Cavite with 126, Davao City and Rizal province with 78 cases each, and Quezon City with 73.  

Meanwhile, the tally of recoveries jumped to 349,543 after 468 more patients have survived the illness. However, 42 new fatalities were recorded, driving the death count to 7,409.