MANILA— Now that COVID-19 restrictions have eased in Metro Manila and some provinces, can the public finally enjoy Halloween and Christmas parties?
The Department of Health said Saturday such celebrations should only be shared with family, as inviting people from outside may still carry risks.
"Kapag mass gathering hindi pa rin natin pinapayagan. Pero kung 'yung mga sinasabi na within the bubble of the family, maaari naman pong gawin. Kailangan lang talaga na 'yung safety protocols, kailangan ipatupad," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire explained in a public briefing.
(If it is a mass gathering, it's still not allowed unless you celebrate it within your family bubble. We just have to follow safety protocols)
"Yung mga parties, Halloween events and all, kailangan, lagi nating iisipin na may mga restrictions pa rin tayo," she added.
(The parties, Halloween events, should take into consideration our restrictions)
While these activities are still limited within the family bubble, health protocols should still be considered, such as the 3 Cs or activities that are crowded, involve close contact, and held in closed or indoor areas.
"Kapag kulob ang lugar, kapag maraming tao, 'pag mapo-promote ang close contacts, tayo po ay umiwas sa ganitong pagkakataon para hindi tayo magkasakit."
(If the area is not well-ventilated and there are people who you need to interact with physically, we have to remember that we should refrain from going to these so we won't be infected.)
Caution to candidates
People running for office, meanwhile, should also be wary of premature campaigning, as this could become super spreader events, according to the health official.
"Paalala po sa ating mga local governments, alam po natin and naiintindihan natin na nagkakampanya na tayo, sana tayo na po ang magkaroon ng responsibilidad na magkaroon ng ganitong safety protocols during our campaign period," she said.
(I would like to remind local governments that while we understand that we need to campaign for the elections, we should hold ourselves responsible for these safety protocols.)
During the same briefing, Vergeire said the chances of Metro Manila being placed under Alert Level 2 soon is "very high" if the pandemic response continues to improve.
Based on the agency's projections, the country's new cases would continue to decline.
ABS-CBN Data Analytics head Edson Guido said Metro Manila logged an average of 996 daily new cases in the past 7 days, as of DOH data on Friday.
This is the first time in nearly 3 months that the 7-day average fell below the 1,000-mark, the analyst pointed out.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III also this week warned that crowding, together with the public's complacency in following health protocols, could lead to a fresh wave of cases in a few months.
This as visitors have kept flocking to the Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach and other areas due looser quarantine restrictions.
The Philippines is also raising its daily vaccination target to 1.5 million ahead of Christmas season, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. had said.
Video from PTV