'Risk is high': DOH cautions against visiting crowded places as holidays near
People are seen flocking to Divisoria in Manila in this November 2020 photo
The STAR/Edd Gumban

'Risk is high': DOH cautions against visiting crowded places as holidays near

Christian Deiparine (Philstar.com) - November 23, 2020 - 9:31pm

MANILA, Philippines — The health department on Monday warned the public against going to crowded places with the threat of the coronavirus still looming amid the approaching holiday. 

Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire in a briefing said the agency saw the circulating photos on social media which showed Filipinos flocking to the well-known commercial center Divisoria. 

"Bagamat alam natin na sabik na tayong magpunta sa mga mall [at] mamili...alalahanin natin na andyan pa rin 'yung virus at mas maihahawa sa mga tao and among you kapag nandoon kayo sa mga lugar na siksikan," she said. 

(Even though we understand that many are excited to go to malls and buy for the holidays, we have to keep in mind that the virus is still there and it is more contagious if you are in places with many people.) 

The senior health official said mass gatherings are still prohibited despite the multi-agency coronavirus task force allowing more capacities in business establishments, churches and public transport. 

Government in October shifted to the third phase of its national action plan which aims to draw more people out of their homes in a bid to revive the economy that, along with other nations, entered into a recession as a result of the health crisis. 

It has also deployed more police, especially in business districts to ensure that people are still complying with the health standards set. Despite this, Vergeire said visiting places where physical distance is no longer followed due to the huge number of people can still be dangerous. 

"Kahit kayo ay naka-mask at face shield, kung pupunta naman sa mga matataong lugar na halos dikit-dikit ay maaari pa rin kayong mahawa," she said. "Ang risk ng pagkahawa ay napakalaki 'pag tayo ay nakapupunta sa mga lugar na maraming tao tulad nung sa Divisoria."

(Even if you are wearing a face mask and face shield, you could still catch the virus if you keep going to places with many people. The risk is very high in going to places like Divisoria.) 

Philippine coronavirus infections are the second highest in Southeast Asia, with the number breaching 420,000 on November 23. The virus is also responsible for 8,173 deaths so far, with more than 386,000 patients recovered. 

And with another month coming to a close, President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to announce new quarantine classifications for the country, at least until the end of the year. 

Metro Manila, along with Batangas, the cities of Iloilo, Bacolod, Tacloban, Iligan and Lanao del Sur, have remained under general community quarantine for the whole November, with the rest of the country under more relaxed restrictions.

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH DIVISORIA NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
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