Resort to other ways of shopping for the holidays in order to avoid risks caused by physical contact amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Health (DOH) said Monday.
Shoppers were encouraged to continue practicing minimum health standards like wearing a face mask, face shield, and maintaining physical distance while in a crowded place.
President Duterte has also appealed to the public to continue to observe health measures during the upcoming Christmas season to prevent a post-holiday surge in coronavirus cases.
Over the weekend, photographs of a crowded Divisoria surfaced online prompting the Health department to issue anew reminders to the public on the risks of being in a crowded area.
If it can’t be helped to shop, the public was told to just resort to online shopping.
“Gusto ko lang paalalahanan ang mga kababayan na alam natin na sabik na tayo magpunta sa mall, sabik na mamili sa mga pampasko natin, alalahanin natin andyan pa din ang virus. (I would like to remind our fellowmen who are eager to go to the mall, shop for the holidays, we must not forget that the virus is still here),” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.
“Ang virus ay mas maihahawa sa mga tao kapag nandun sa mga lugar na siksikan. Kaya nga hanggang ngayon ang mga mass gathering, ang IATF talagang hindi pa din binibigyang laya ng 100 percent dahil alam natin andyan pa din ang threat ng virus sa atin (The virus can be transmitted in crowded places. This is why until now the IATF has yet to allow people to gather be – cause the threat of the virus is still here),” Vergeire added.
Crowded places risky
The Health official also stressed that wearing a facemask and face shield won’t spare you from being infected if you are in a crowded place where proper physical distancing is not practiced.
“The risk is there. It is very high. Kaya sana iwasan ang pagpunta sa mataong lugar kung maari po (So please avoid going to crowded places,” Vergeire urged.
“Kung sakaling kailangan mamili na talaga, maaring magkaroon ng ibang pamamaraan para magkaroon ng ganitong activities. Gusto lang natin ipaalala na ang risk ay napakalaki ‘pag tayo ay nagpupunta sa mga lugar na maraming tao gaya ng sa Divisoria (If we really need to shop, we can resort to other ways for this activity. We just want to remind you that risks are high when we go to crowded places like Divisoria),” she added.
Follow health standards
The public was also encouraged to do away from giving handshakes to public officials and private donors during relief operations to avoid transmission of the disease.
“Kailangan maintindihan ng mga kaba – bayan at leaders na iwas muna sa physical contact. Mag-maintain ng physical distance. Maari namang magkaroon ng ibang paraan para maipaabot ang pasasalamat (The public and our leaders need to understand that we have to avoid physical contact. Maintain physical distance. We can still extend our gratitude to them through other ways),” Vergeire said.
The President said the country can have fewer coronavirus cases if the public will follow the health standards such as frequent washing of hands, wearing of masks, and physical distancing.
“So mga kababayan ganito ‘yan, ulitin ko. Importante is that to wear mask, then wash or washing of the hands, tapos sa social distancing… kung maaari lang huwag ka na lang lumapit ngayon (To my countrymen, I will repeat. It is important to wear masks, wash hands and observe social distancing. If it is possible, avoid close contact),” he said in his televised address.
“We have to interdict whatever there is para mamenos-menos ‘yung tao na ano. We can have a lesser cases of COVID if we just follow and then there’s a prompt medical attention given to those who are affected with COVID,” he added.
Duterte made the remarks after Health Secretary Francisco Duque III cautioned against complacency in the fight against the coronavirus during the holiday season.
In the meeting with the President, Duque said the health department would prepare a “contingency plan” in case the country faces a “post-holiday season surge” in the number of cases.
“Nais ko pong paalalahanan ang lahat na habang ang bilang ng kaso ay patuloy na pababa, hindi ito dapat na maging dahilan upang tayo ay maging mas maluwag or complacent (I would like to remind everyone that despite the downtrend in cases, this should not be a reason to become compla – cent),” he said.
Duque said people should continue to wash hands often, wear a mask, and keep a safe distance from others to avoid getting infected while celebrating during the holiday season.
The country’s cases of coronavirus have reached 420,614 as of November 23 with 8,173 deaths and 386,604 recoveries.