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DOH clarifies: No torotot ban

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star
DOH clarifies: No torotot ban
According to DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, they merely discourage the use of these gadgets in welcoming the New Year because these could help spread the coronavirus.
STAR / Val Rodriguez, File

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) clarified yesterday that it is not declaring a ban on torotot or horn noisemakers and whistles this Yuletide season.

According to DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, they merely discourage the use of these gadgets in welcoming the New Year because these could help spread the coronavirus.

“We cannot ban them, but we are hoping that the Department of the Interior and Local Government can come up with a policy that such noisemakers should not be used this New Year revelry,” she said.

Earlier, the DOH urged the public not to use horns and whistles because blowing them can expel virus into the air, which may be transmitted to others.

Vergeire also urged local government leaders to strictly implement health protocols against COVID-19, as various Christmas attractions are now starting to open in public places.

She noted that these attractions will invite people to gather, compromising health protocols, particularly physical distancing and wearing of masks and face shields.

“We encourage local officials that if there are gatherings and activities, avoid the clustering of people and explore alternative means of celebration,” she added.

Vergeire reiterated the warning against the possible spike in COVID-19 cases during the Christmas season if people will become complacent.

Among the anticipated attractions so far are the Parola at the University of the Philippines-Diliman in Quezon City; Christmas lights in Ayala Avenue in Makati City; dancing fountain at the Bonifacio Shrine in Manila; light show at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Pasay City and giant Christmas tree display at Bonifacio High Street in Taguig City.

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday that 591 more Filipinos abroad have tested positive for COVID-19. The agency also reported 419 new recoveries and 13 new fatalities.

“The reported increases are due to belated reports in one country in Asia and the Pacific,” the DFA said.

As of yesterday, there were a total of 12,290 Filipinos overseas infected with the virus, 860 of whom have died. – Helen Flores

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