Health professionals call for ‘Apat Dapat’ for Christmas

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star
Health professionals call for âApat Dapatâ for Christmas
Super-spreader events pertain to the high COVID-19 infection cases in one location, with an infected person mingling with a proportionately large number of contacts.
The STAR / Walter Bollozos

MANILA, Philippines — A group of doctors proposed a four-point strategy to prevent coronavirus super-spreader events this Christmas season.

Super-spreader events pertain to the high COVID-19 infection cases in one location, with an infected person mingling with a proportionately large number of contacts.

According to Health Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC) member Tony Dans, doctors are anticipating a surge in cases this Christmas season, like what was experienced in July and August when hospitals were overwhelmed with COVID patients.

“That’s why we came up with our recommendations to remind people and to give them ways of celebrating Christmas. This is a different Christmas and we recommend different ways of celebrating,” he said.

Calling their strategy “Apat Dapat,” the group says that if people will gather for Christmas, the area must have A for air, P for physical distancing, A for always wearing face masks, and T for time by keeping the meeting to no more than 30 minutes.

The spike is attributed to the series of typhoons that hit the country in the past weeks and the increasing mobility of people, especially shoppers.

Dans said the country’s epidemic curve for COVID-19 has been on a downtrend since August.

However, he warned the people that the “slope” is going up again and it is expected to kick up further in time for Christmas if people will not strictly observe the “Apat Dapat” measures.

HPAAC member Inday Dans noted they primarily advocate against “crossing households” to celebrate because this could trigger transmission of the virus.

She added that it is best to celebrate only among family members within a household and without visitors from other households.

She underscored that mass gathering or overcrowding is a big no-no in COVID-19.

HPAAC said that even if a person is asymptomatic on Christmas Day, for instance, COVID-19 symptoms may manifest up to 14 days’ incubation.

She said the next strategy is to keep physical distancing of one to two meters even among family members.

Dans said if crossing households cannot be avoided, gatherings should be done in a well-ventilated space or in an open-air place such as outdoors or parks.

The third recommendation is to always wear mask and face shield and to limit the number of people gathering to only 10.

The fourth is to limit the contact to less than 30 minutes. “It is actually better not to dine together, just eat and leave to protect yourself and your love ones,” she added.


Dans also said having physical barriers in restaurants, for instance, does not really prevent COVID-19 infection.

“Barriers can actually prevent good ventilation while open air can prevent 94 percent of transmission,” he added.

He called on restaurant owners to put tables and chairs outside of their establishment, like what is being done now in other countries.

Dans urged local government units to allow this setup.

“Choose restaurants where you can dine outdoors because those barriers in an enclosed area are of very little help. They just keep the virus and the air will still reach you somehow through those barriers,” he maintained.


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