The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday released a health advisory on the observance of Simbang Gabi as Catholics begin to flock the churches tonight.
To curb the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) transmission, the DOH reminded the public to reduce contact rate or avoid exposure to the virus by attending online masses instead of in-person gatherings.
The agency urged those physically attending masses to comply with the following minimum public health standards:
– Observing physical distancing of at least one meter apart from other people.
– Proper wearing of face mask and face shield at all times in public spaces.
– Limiting the length of activity or exposure.
– Ensuring adequate ventilation in the venues.
The amended IATF-EID omnibus guidelines on the community quarantine allowed religious gatherings under the following conditions:
– Not more than five persons in areas under the modified enhanced community quarantine.
– Not more than 30 percent of the seating capacity in areas under the general community quarantine (GCQ).
– Not more than 50-percent seating capacity in areas under modified GCQ.
As Simbang Gabi can easily become a Covid-19 superspreader event, the DOH said the government is preparing for a post-holiday surge to avoid overwhelming the health system capacity.
“The DOH is not prohibiting holiday celebrations, but we call on everyone to think of safety -our own and our loved ones- as we enjoy this season,” the advisory read. (Ma. Teresa Montemayor/PNA)