The Philippine Star

Public urged: Attend Simbang Gabi online


The public has been warned anew to just stay home and use social media instead of engaging in traditiona­l Simbang Gabi or pre-dawn masses and other activities this holiday season.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque said online platforms can be used in attending Simbang Gabi as well as in getting in touch with relatives and buying gifts.

Duque issued the reminder as he visited the Divisoria Market, where people usually go to buy gifts for the holidays.

“With our current pandemic situation, any large gathering of people is considered a risk to one’s health,” Duque said, adding it would be wiser to simply stay home during this Yuletide season.

While the COVID-19 cases in some parts of the country may be lower these days than in previous months, Duque said the trend 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,” Duque said.

He said senior citizens, especially those with weak immune systems and underlying medical conditions are more prone to contractin­g SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.

Everyone must strictly adhere to minimum public health standards to prevent COVID-19 transmissi­on, he said.

As the holidays are nearing, Duque said people must be conscious of the six risk factors during holiday activities.

These risks are the number of people; density of people in an area, which would make the observance of physical distancing difficult; duration of the activity; ventilatio­n of the venue; nature of the activity, and the ability to use personal protective equipment such as face masks and face shields.

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