Don't let Chinese New Year gatherings be 'superspreaders,' DOH says
A man wearing face mask is seen checking out Chinese charms in this undated photo
The STAR/KJ Rosales, file

Don't let Chinese New Year gatherings be 'superspreaders,' DOH says

Christian Deiparine (Philstar.com) - February 11, 2021 - 5:28pm

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos who will celebrate the Chinese New Year were told to keep following preventive measures against the COVID-19 by health officials with the festivities set for tomorrow.

The health department in an advisory on Thursday urged the public to instead take reunions online and reduce physical interactions to those within their households only.

"Don't let your family gatherings become superspreader events," DOH said, adding to continuously observe wearing face masks and shields properly. 

It also advised against flocking to crowded spaces, as well as to keep the one-meter physical distance and the sanitizing of hands.

Like other celebrations in the Philippines in over a year now, the welcoming of the Chinese New Year this 2021 will be different with the pandemic still raging, and with the more infectious variant first detected in the United Kingdom already in its shores.

Pared-down celebrations in Manila's Chinatown

The City of Manila, for one, home to the world's oldest Chinatown that is Binondo, had announced in end-January that it was cancelling all celebrations for the said holiday.

As a result, street parties, stage shows, parades, street games, the iconic dragon dances including firecrackers are prohibited beginning today, February 11, up to Friday, February 12.

“The activities during the New Year celebration, if not cancelled, can be surely an easy medium of COVID-19 spread and transmission thereby endangering the health, well-being and safety not only of residents but also their visitors who will join them in the celebration,” said Mayor Isko Moreno in an executive order.

Malacanang has also made the same appeal, telling Filipinos that "it is okay to celebrate but we should not forget how COVID-19 spreads."

"We know that most of the cases are mild and asymptomatic but there is a slight increase in the number of deaths so let’s take care of our lives so we can really celebrate beyond Chinese New Year,” said spokesperson Harry Roque in a briefing.

Philippine coronavirus infections reached 543,282 on Thursday, as officials reported 1,734 more individuals contracting the deadly virus.

The said figures continues to put the country with the second highest count in Southeast Asia and 32nd globally.

In total, 11,469 Filipinos have also died from the pandemic, nearly a year since it hit home, while some 500,335 have since recovered.

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