Christmas parties in December? DOH says no certainty amid COVID-19 threat

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 15 2021 03:53 PM

Visitors flock to Luneta Park in Manila on a limited capacity as part of COVID-19 precautions on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
Visitors flock to Luneta Park in Manila on a limited capacity as part of COVID-19 precautions on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA—The Department of Health on Friday tempered expectations it would allow Christmas parties in December amid declining COVID-19 cases.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the government would still have to monitor the COVID-19 situation in the country before allowing such activity.

"For now, we can’t say that we are certain that we will be allowing these parties by December," she said in a press briefing.

Vergeire warned that COVID-19 transmission could still occur in parties despite being fully vaccinated.

"We know this will comprised of gatherings, crowding, close contact, minsan (sometimes it's in an) enclosed po 'yung espasyo (space). Nandiyan na ho 'yung posibilidad na maaari rin po tayong magkasakit (There's still that possibility we could still get sick)," she said.

The health official made the remark after independent research group OCTA said big parties could be held but only for fully vaccinated.

While the government loosened restrictions to further open the pandemic-battered economy, Vergeire stressed health protocols must still be enforced.

On Thursday, the Philippines reported 7,835 cases, the second time in as many days the DOH announced below 8,000 infections. The tally includes 84,850 active cases or those still sick with the virus.

In light of improving vaccination rates and decreasing COVID-19 cases, Metro Manila will downgrade to Alert Level 3 from Oct. 16 to 31.