Meeting family or friends for Christmas? Make it quick, and avoid gathering indoors, experts say

By: Cathrine Gonzales - Reporter / @cgonzalesINQ - Inquirer.net | November 30,2020 - 09:30 PM

Dr. Antonio Dans. Screengrabbed from HPAAC online briefing.

MANILA, Philippines — Health professionals are advocating precautionary measures to ensure a coronavirus-free Christmas season, such as limiting encounters with other people, and if it can’t be avoided, to hold gatherings outdoors for a short time only.

These measures were among four precautionary steps proposed by the Health Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC). The two other measures are the usual recommendation of health experts — wearing of face masks and face shields, and observing physical distancing.

In an online press conference, Dr. Antonio Dans, spokesperson for HPAAC, said the public should opt for outdoor activities if they want to gather with a small group of friends and relatives.

For instance, Dans said the public may choose to patronize restaurants that have outdoor dining instead of indoor for proper ventilation.

He also called on mayors to allow restaurants to place chairs in sidewalks so that customers can dine outside.

“Manawagan tayo sa mga mayor na sana payagan ang mga restaurant na mag-open sa mga sidewalk para meron naman tayong kakainan,” he said.

(Let us call on mayors to allow restaurants to open spaces in sidewalks so that people can dine there.)

Meanwhile, Dans pointed out that a one-meter distance can reduce the possibility of coronavirus infection by 80 percent.

He added that face masks and face shields should be properly worn.

Dans also said that it is better to have a shorter time of physical interaction with other people to reduce the risk of the spread of the virus.

“Kung meron tayong kausap o kasama, the shorter the time, the better. Thirty minutes or less, or kung hihigit man, keep it to a minimum,” he said.

“Ang recommendation ng WHO at CDC, keep it to 15 minutes. Kapag nasunod nyo yun lalong maigi, kung lalampasan nyo, the shorter the better,” he added.

Dans acknowledged that some of these precautionary measures may not be applied in some circumstances. For instance, face masks and face shields need to be removed when eating.

Nevertheless, he said it will still help if the rest of the precautionary measures can still be observed under such circumstances.

“Kailangan alam natin yung apat, kasi kapag may isa tayong hindi nagawa, meron pa tayong tatlong protection,” he said.

(We need to know all four, so that even if we cannot observe one of them, we still have three ways to protect ourselves.)

EDV

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TAGS: Antonio Dans, health professionals, Health Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC), HPAAC, precautionary measures

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