DOH warns against large holiday gatherings


With most cities in the country now on Modified General Community Quarantine and with the holidays fast approaching, the Department of Health (DOH) strongly reminded the public against holding large family and social gatherings as such can be a source of COVID-19 transmission.

“With our current pandemic situation, any large gathering of people is considered a risk to one’s health”, Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said, adding that no one can be sure where the virus may be present. “It would be wiser, at this time of pandemic, to simply stay at home during this Yuletide season and limit the celebration to household members only,” he stressed.

Sec. Duque further advised the public to utilize online platforms such as the social media, video messaging apps and e-commerce sites in place of the traditional holiday activities like attending masses or simbang gabi, getting in touch with relatives, and buying gifts.

“COVID-19 cases in some parts of the country may now be lower compared to previous months but this should not be a reason for complacency,” Sec. Duque warned. “Even though we see a lowering trend in the number of COVID-19 cases, this is not irreversible. We need to maintain our caution especially for the upcoming holidays. Everyone should remain vigilant as the threat of the pandemic is still here,” Sec. Duque added.

Senior citizens, especially those with weak immune systems and underlying medical conditions are more prone to contracting COVID-19 virus, with this Sec. Duque advised that it is better to stay at home during this Christmas season. The health chief further reminded everyone to strictly adhere to Minimum Public Health Standards to prevent COVID-19 transmission.

“As the holidays are nearing, let us do our part and be conscious of the 6 peligro factors during our holiday activities: the number of people, the density of people in an area which would make the observance of physical distancing difficult, the duration of the activity, ventilation of the venue, the nature of the activity, and the ability to use Personal Protective Equipment such as face masks and face shields,” Sec. Duque concluded.