Expert shares tips to avoid COVID-19 during parties

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol (The Freeman) - November 24, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — An infectious diseases specialist has shared some tips to minimize the risks of coronavirus disease at gatherings though parties are discouraged especially this Christmas season.

Dr. Bryan Albert Lim, also the adviser and consultant of the Cebu City Emergency Operations Center, gave some tips in case gatherings cannot be avoided.

“Covid -19 follows human behavior. Wherever there are people clustered together, especially in enclosed spaces, with no proper ventilation, transmission is almost certain,” said Dr. Lim via Facebook.

Dr. Lim said gatherings should be minimized and simplified and is best to be celebrated with immediate household members only and party hopping or visits to other households should be avoided.

If not, he said, schedule the visits so the host can disinfect and prepare the home properly.

Before a family gathering, exposure to other people should be minimized at least 14 days before the activity.

Parties, even with the family, will have to be done outside, especially if the home does not have proper ventilation.

Open air is best. Arrange the chairs with social distancing. Avoid "mano po" for now, especially for the elderly and so with kissing even on the cheeks. Zone your household.

During the party or eating, the elders can stay in one area, while the young ones or those who did not quarantine can stay in another area.

For the food, Dr. Lim suggested that only one person should be assigned to prepare and serve the food. Avoid multiple people touching the serving spoon and plates. If not, take turns in getting food.

There should be no crowding. Everyone should also sanitize before and after and there should be no sharing of cups, spoons and forks and avoid drinking alcoholic drinks as it is more difficult to control behavior when drunk, if not, absolutely “no to tagay.”

As advised by the Department of Heath earlier, karaoke should be avoided as singing can potentially aerosolized droplets, if not, it also has to be done outside and audience should be at least six feet away and the singer must wear surgical mask and face shield consistently and properly while games, if any, should not involve contacts.

Another Christmas tradition is the exchanging of gifts. It also has to be avoided, however, if not, it has to be disinfected first while individuals have to wash their hands before and after opening the gifts.

For non-perishable gifts and packages, best to wait for three to five days before opening as COVID can still be present in the surfaces during this time.

Dr. Lim also suggested that there should be a back-up supply of surgical masks, face shields, and alcohol during the party while garbage cans must be kept open to avoid touching its cover. — GMR (FREEMAN)

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