Christmas parties banned in Metro Manila

Emmanuel Tupas - The Philippine Star
Christmas parties banned in Metro Manila
A hotel employee places a Christmas wreath on the door of a room at The Manor at Camp John Hay in Baguio City.
Andy Zapata Jr.

MANILA, Philippines — Christmas parties will not be allowed this year in Metro Manila where a surge in COVID-19 cases remains a possibility amid the easing of quarantine restrictions, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said yesterday.

In an interview over Teleradyo, Año said Christmas parties are banned as mayors in the National Capital Region (NCR) have agreed to keep their respective jurisdictions under general community quarantine or GCQ for the rest of the year.

“Under GCQ, parties are still not allowed. NCR mayors have agreed that we remain under GCQ,” Año said in Filipino.

As Metro Manila is still averaging hundreds of new COVID-19 cases a day, Año said allowing Christmas parties, which involve mass gatherings, would only result in a surge in infections.

There are over 359,169 COVID-19 cases with more than 6,600 deaths, based on the latest report of the Department of Health. Of the number, at least 180,189 cases are from Metro Manila.

“Too bad if our gains in the past seven months will just go to waste if another surge happens,” he said in Filipino.

The interior and local government chief is also cool to suggestions to further lower the age-based stay-at-home restrictions in Metro Manila to 15 to 65 from the current 18 to 65.

Adjusting the age bracket would allow around three million more people in the streets, according to Año.

“We should remain careful because the daily cases in Metro Manila are still in three-digits,” he said.

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