With Christmas nearing, quarantine enforcers back proposal to ban caroling
Sellers arrange Christmas decorations at Dapitan Arcade in Quezon City on Nov. 5, 2020.
The STAR/Mong Pintolo

With Christmas nearing, quarantine enforcers back proposal to ban caroling

(Philstar.com) - November 8, 2020 - 12:23pm

MANILA, Philippines — Silent nights could await Filipinos once the holidays come around, with the quarantine enforcement task force announcing that it backed calls to ban caroling ahead of the forthcoming Christmas season, it disclosed Sunday. 

In a statement sent to reporters, the Joint Task Force COVID Shield said this was due to the danger of coronavirus infection, especially for children who may be encouraged to go out in areas whose local governments would be allowing the practice. 

Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, commander of the JTF CV Shield, said the task force was still awaiting the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on the proposal.

“Caroling has always been part of the Filipino tradition...but the situation is currently different. We are facing a serious threat of Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) and we in the JTF COVID Shield believe that it is in the health interest of everybody if we could just stay home,” he said.

But Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, who sits as vice chair of the IATF, said he also supports the caroling ban this year and would recommend the ban be implemented nationwide.

“Based on studies and statistics, the spread of COVID-19 is more likely to occur in mass singing like choir and caroling because singers have to remove their masks as they sing and viruses are released through aerosols,” he said. 

Researchers warn of possible coronavirus resurgence amid holidays

On Friday, Mathematics professor Guido David, of the OCTA Research group, said the government must be ready to immediately respond to an uptick of new cases to prevent a surge.

“We are aware that when the holiday season comes, people already have fatigue and would want to go out,” he said in Filipino in an interview with TeleRadyo.

“It is possible to have an uptick but what is important is for us to have an immediate response. So in case there is a small uptick of cases, we will be able to control it and it will not worsen and be a surge,” he added.

Children are considered as the most affected by the community quarantine rules since they could no longer do what they used to enjoy before the pandemic, the joint task force said in its statement. 

In a briefing, the health department also urged the public to celebrate Christmas with caution amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Social and family gatherings must be kept with less people as possible,” DOH Health Promotion Bureau officer Rodley Carza said. 

“Preferably people within the same household will be attending the gathering and activities requiring travel to areas with higher quarantine classification shall be avoided."

Franco Luna 

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: April 3, 2021 - 6:11pm

Other regions and provinces in the Philippines considered moderate and low-risk areas will be placed under general community quarantine starting May 1. Bookmark this page for updates. (Main image by The STAR/Edd Gumban)

April 3, 2021 - 6:11pm

The Lipa City health office logs 69 new COVID-19 infections – the highest in April – raising the total to 2,359.

Among the new infections were four call center agents. The youngest among them was a 22-year-old male agent from Barangay 7, who had cough and fever and previously got exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 positive patient.

Also testing positive was a 23-year-old female agent and 28-year-old female agent, both from Barangay Marawoy. A 28-year-old woman from Barangay Sabang, who had colds and cough, also got infected by the virus.

The said patients are already quarantined while health authorities continue to conduct contact tracing for their close contacts. Lipa City now has 1897 recoveries, with 20 new recoveries reported Friday. This means 80.4% have recovered from COVID, higher than Batangas province’s 45.82% recovery rate. — The Filipino Connection/Marlon Luistro

March 27, 2021 - 4:11pm

The Department of Health reports an additional 9,595 cases of the coronavirus disease, bringing the national tally to 712,442. To date, there are 118,122 active cases.

481 individuals are reported to have recovered, pushing the total number of recoveries to  581,161. The DOH logs 10 new deaths, bringing the death toll to 13,159

March 27, 2021 - 10:54am

St. Luke's Medical Center is requiring a mandatory COVID-19 swab test for patients and their companions prior to admission.

"Due to the current surge of COVID-19 cases, St. Luke's Medical Center would require COVID-19 swab test for all patients and their companions prior to admission effective March 29, 2021," the statement reads.

March 26, 2021 - 4:05pm

The Department of Health records another record high 9,838 new coronavirus cases, pushing the national tally to 702,856.

  • Recoveries: 663 new; total at 580,689
  • Deaths: 54 new; toll at 13,149
  • Active cases: 109,018 or 15.5% of total
March 26, 2021 - 11:29am

The inter-agency task force for COVID-19 approves once a day religious gatherings from April 1 to 4 in time for Holy Week.

IATF spokesperson Harry Roque says such gatherings should be done at 10% maximum indoor seating capacity at all times. Mass gatherings or religious activities outside the church or the venue are still prohibited.

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