DOH discourages visiting family members over the holidays
A woman arranges Christmas decorations in her shop on September 1, 2020.
The STAR/Boy Santos

DOH discourages visiting family members over the holidays

( - November 28, 2020 - 4:34pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health is discouraging Filipinos from visiting their family members in a different household, warning that doing so may lead to more coronavirus infections.

Instead, Filipinos should opt to celebrate the holidays with members of their own household and choose alternative ways of marking Christmas, DOH spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a Laging Handa briefing aired over state-run People’s Television.

“Visiting relatives during the coming holidays is very risky and this may cause a spike in cases in the country,” Vergeire said in Filipino.

Christmas celebrations, if ever held, should be done in well-ventilated spaces, she said. She also warned against buffet-style meals, which she said could also lead to coronavirus infections.

The DOH is also appealing to national government agencies and local government units to reconsider holding holiday outreach programs, which could draw crowds and increase the risk of virus transmission.

If ever outreach programs are held, the DOH said minimum public health standards should be observed, which include proper handwashing, physical distancing and wearing of face masks.

“We know that our countrymen are excited to do all this, but hopefully they’ll understand that the virus is still here and if we can, let’s avoid gatherings of a large number of people,” Vergeire said.

As of Saturday, 427,797 people have been infected with the coronavirus in the Philippines, making the country the second in Southeast Asia with the most number of coronavirus cases.

Of this number, 8,333 have died and 388,062 have recovered. — Xave Gregorio

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