The government has banned the traditional house-to-house Christmas caroling this year to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), National Task Force Against COVID 19 Implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. said Wednesday.
In a press briefing, Galvez said the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Infectious Diseases has already approved the recommendation of the Metro Manila Mayors to prohibit face to face Christmas caroling to prevent further transmission of the COVID-19.
“While the government understands that caroling has always been part of the Filipino tradition, the country is now facing a different situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
Galvez added that members of the inter-agency task force would meet again regarding other measures that could be taken to prevent a surge in cases during the holiday season, which may be caused by parties and other gatherings.
Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr, who is the concurrent Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) spokesperson, said that the Department of Health was already preparing a contingency plan for a post-holiday surge in COVID-19 cases in view of the Christmas season.
“It is better to be ready this early. We know Christmas season is a wonderful occasion celebrated in the country, family reunions with our families,” Roque said, adding “and will make sure that this coming holiday season we will maintain minimum public health standards.”
Roque said the DOH had released Circular 2020-0355 to ensure that the public will be able to observe and practice the minimum public health standards during the holiday season.
The DOH Circular identified holiday activities that could be classified as safe, moderate risk, and high risk.
According to the Circular, classified as safe activities were attending online masses, noche buena or media noche with the family inside the home, online video calls among family members who are apart during the holiday season, and shopping in online stores.
“Classified as having moderate risk are small gatherings in public areas that take into consideration physical distancing and restrictions on mass gatherings,” he said.
“High risk activities include physical attendance in indoor religious activities with many attendees, shopping in crowded malls and tiangge, big gatherings in enclosed spaces, and singing, speaking loudly, and physical contact,” Roque added.
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by manilastandard.net readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of manilastandard.net. While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.