Protesters urged to follow health rules as Delta variant treat looms

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Protesters urged to follow health rules as Delta variant treat looms
Health workers stage a protest from U.P. Diliman in Quezon City going to Commonwealth Avenue during the State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte on July 26, 2021.
The STAR / Boy Santos

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health urged people attending protest actions ahead of President Rodrigo Duterte’s sixth and final State of the Nation Address to follow health protocols especially amid the threat of the dreaded Delta variant.

In an advisory posted on its social media pages, the DOH called on protesters to stay at home as much as possible and join online demonstrations.

While it recognizes people’s right to express dissent, the department stressed the need to protect one's self and others from COVID-19. Organizers of the demonstrations earlier vowed that health protocols will be strictly observed during their program.

DOH said those who are joining protest actions should wear face mask and face shield properly, wash hands regularly, sanitize belongings, and observe the physical distancing rule.

Demonstrators should avoid crowded areas, ensure proper ventilation and limit gatherings to not longer than 15 minutes. Those who are experiencing symptoms should no longer attend protests, the agency added.

It also said the protesters should quarantine and coordinate with local health personnel once they manifest COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, headache, cough, tiredness, loss of taste and smell, body pain, and sore throat.

In a briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said people attending demonstrations should minimize interaction with others and refrain from shouting and removing mask while speaking.

“We want to remind you that we are monitoring variants of concern that easily cause transmission. The risk of transmission is high if there are many people,” she said in Filipino.

Progressive groups marched to Commonwealth Avenue following an assembly at the University of the Philippines Diliman to denounce Duterte's leadership. 

Duterte will deliver his sixth and final SONA at the Batasang Pambansa at 4 p.m. 

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