DOH probes text blast on Christmas party protocol
People buy Christmas decorations in this October 3, 2020 photo.
The STAR/Walter Bollozos

DOH probes text blast on Christmas party protocol

( - November 27, 2020 - 4:43pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health stressed Friday it is discouraging in-person Christmas gatherings and advised the public to consider other alternatives as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage on.

This, after social media users reported receiving a message from the National Telecommunications Commission, which advises people to turn on electric fans and open windows during Christmas parties. The text blast also said that having an outdoor venue is a safer option.

The DOH, Health Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 and the Department of Information and Communications Technology were mentioned in the message.

In a briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the message was not approved by the concerned DOH office.

“DOH has not officially released this message yet because we wanted to further study it because it might cause confusion to the public,” Vergeire said, adding the department is already investigating how the message was sent.

The health official, instead, warned that holding and attending Christmas gatherings may increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

“We all know these Christmas parties might be cause for super spreader event and we do not want that to happen because it might cause further infection in the community,” Vergeire said.

Instead of attending large family or social gatherings, the DOH suggested other options such as holding online parties. The agency also warned the public against going to crowded places as it expressed concern over a possible surge in cases as people gather in commercial districts and malls.

The Philippines has so far reported 425,918 COVID-19 cases, of which 7% are considered active. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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