The Philippine Star

Health profession­als call for ‘Apat Dapat’ for Christmas

- By SHEILA CRISOSTOMO

A group of doctors proposed a four-point strategy to prevent coronaviru­s super-spreader events this Christmas season.

Super-spreader events pertain to the high COVID- 19 infection cases in one location, with an infected person mingling with a proportion­ately large number of contacts.

According to Health

Profession­als Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC) member Tony Dans, doctors are anticipati­ng a surge in cases this Christmas season, like what was experience­d in July and August when hospitals were overwhelme­d with COVID patients.

“That’s why we came up with our recommenda­tions to remind people and to give them ways of celebratin­g Christmas. This is a different Christmas and we recommend different ways of celebratin­g,” he said.

Calling their strategy “Apat Dapat,” the group says that if people will gather for Christmas, the area must have A for air or sufficient ventilatio­n, P for physical distancing, A for always wearing face masks, and T for time – by keeping the meeting to no more than 30 minutes.

The spike is attributed to the series of typhoons that hit the country in the past weeks and the increasing mobility of people, especially shoppers.

Dans said the country’s epidemic curve for COVID-19 has been on a downtrend since August.

However, he warned the people that the “slope” is going up again and it is expected to kick up further in time for Christmas if people will not strictly observe the “Apat Dapat” measures.

HPAAC member Inday Dans noted they primarily advocate against “crossing households” to celebrate because this could trigger transmissi­on of the virus.

She added that it is best to celebrate only among family members within a household and without visitors from other households.

She underscore­d that mass gathering or overcrowdi­ng is a big no-no in COVID-19.

HPAAC said that even if a person is asymptomat­ic on Christmas Day, for instance, COVID-19 symptoms may manifest up to 14 days’ incubation.

She said the next strategy is to keep physical distancing of one to two meters even among family members.

Dans said if crossing households cannot be avoided, gatherings should be done in a well-ventilated space or in an open- air place such as outdoors or parks.

The third recommenda­tion is to always wear mask and face shield and to limit the number of people gathering to only 10.

The fourth is to limit the contact to less than 30 minutes. “It is actually better not to dine together, just eat and leave to protect yourself and your love ones,” she added.

Barriers

Dans also said having physical barriers in restaurant­s, for instance, does not really prevent COVID- 19 infection.

“Barriers can actually prevent good ventilatio­n while open air can prevent 94 percent of transmissi­on,” he added.

He called on restaurant owners to put tables and chairs outside of their establishm­ent, like what is being done now in other countries.

 ?? MICHAEL VARCAS ?? Tents meant for COVID-19 patients at the Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center in Marikina now house leptospiro­sis patients as cases have surged following floods brought by recent typhoons.
MICHAEL VARCAS Tents meant for COVID-19 patients at the Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center in Marikina now house leptospiro­sis patients as cases have surged following floods brought by recent typhoons.

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