With occasions such as Halloween and Christmas fast approaching, many Filipinos are eager to celebrate. Given the recent slight easing of restrictions, it may seem like a party is in order. However, the DOH advises against it given the pandemic rule against mass gatherings.
According to Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, mass gatherings “are still not allowed”. However, within the bubble of family, they would be acceptable. “We really still have to observe safety protocols.”
Filipinos should still observe what the government calls the “3Cs”: avoiding close contact situations, confined and enclosed spaces with poor ventilation, and crowded places. This is in order to prevent the further transmission of coronavirus cases. A face shield on top of a face mask is required in these situations.
The Philippines is currently one of the very few countries left in the world to have a mandatory face shield rule. Back in September, President Rodrigo Duterte said they are no longer required outdoors. For 3C situations such as going to the mall and such, they are still deemed necessary.
Decongestion of COVID-19 patients in some ICU wards and hospitals has been observed by the DOH as of late.
“If we look at the average number of cases in Metro Manila, the seven-day moving average is at 967,” Vergeire said. “This means the reduction in cases is really significant.”
Cases going down in the National Capital Region over the past couple of weeks doesn’t mean the coronavirus is less of a threat, she added. However, if COVID-19 indicators are sustained, the National Capital Region would be able to lower to Alert Level 2 soon.
“The utilization of our hospitals has gone down,” Vergeire explained. “So hopefully by November, we can be able to de-escalate and open up our economy.”