February 6, 2023

As much as possible, stay within the confines of your homes this Christmas and New Year.

Although expecting there will be mass gatherings to celebrate the Yuletide season despite the threat of the Covid-19, the Department of Health-Cordillera is encouraging the public to celebrate within their homes with their family members and avoid reunions or big parties in the meantime.

“We should really encourage the public, especially in Baguio where the cases increase fast, that during this Yuletide season, celebrate in the confines of your home with your core family. If possible, avoid mass gatherings or reunions for us to help avoid overwhelming our healthcare system,” Dr. Jennifer Joyce Pira, DOH-Cordillera Infectious Disease Cluster head, said during a press briefing Dec. 2.

However if it cannot be avoided, Pira reminded on observing the use of face mask and shield, physical distancing, proper handwashing, and knowing the right information on how to be protected against Covid-19. 

Pira said the situation now is fluid, meaning it depends on whether or not occasions where the Covid-19 virus could spread are held. If there would be such events as mass gatherings, she said the public can expect a peak in the number of Covid-19 cases.

“But if people will behave, or if parties cannot be avoided but they practice the ‘BIDA Solusyon sa Covid-19’, then it will minimize the increase of cases,” Pira said.

The DOH is leading the implementation and promotion of BIDA, which stands for Bawal walang face mask; I-sanitize ang mga kamay at iwas-hawak sa mga bagay; Dumistansya ng isang metro; and alamin ang totoong impormasyon.

Pira said these practices as minimum health protocols are the only key to prevent the spread of the virus in the community.

She said the DOH fully supports local chief executives such as Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong and their efforts to revive the economy by restarting commercial activities.

She said activities such as reopening the night market may be done as long as minimum health standards are followed and police or authorized personnel strictly enforce the rules. 

“If there are gatherings such as this, expect the worst du-ring this Yuletide season. The stand of the DOH is puwede naman mag-open ang commerce as long as the BIDA protocol is strictly observed,” Pira said.

Magalong also issued an executive order extending the implementation of EO 171 regulating social gatherings and the sale and consumption of liquor in the city until Dec. 10. – Hanna C. Lacsamana