As the holiday season gears up and Filipinos begin to prepare for the traditions of festive gatherings and reunions, it’s more important than ever to shield our families and loved ones from the risk of COVID-19.
With the upcoming festivities in mind, medical experts belonging to the Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC), a group that represents various healthcare organizations in the Philippines, held a virtual roundtable on September 24 to discuss various ways to protect ourselves against the virus over the holidays—a Filipino tradition with importance and value HPAAC understands.
During the roundtable, HPAAC members Dr. Aileen Espina, national director of the Philippine Academy of Family Physicians, Dr. Maria Carmela Agustin-Kasala, chair, public relations engagement system services comm of the Philippine Pediatric Society, Dr. Anna Ong-Lim, chief of the Philippine General Hospital’s (PGH) Pediatric Infectious Disease division, and Dr. Inday Dans, a pediatrician and epidemiologist from PGH, shared numerous tips on protecting the family at Christmas, especially children, who generally have fewer cases of the virus compared to adults both locally and internationally.
A large part of the knowledge shared during the event focused on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in gift-giving and small family gatherings. Dr. Espina emphasized that social activities are still possible provided that the proper distancing, contact reduction, and protection precautions are taken, especially for more prone members of the family.
Some of the tips shared by the speakers include the reinforcement of wearing face masks and shields (except for children under two years) even during gatherings, physical distancing, and handwashing. Should your family choose to hold festivities this season, it’s best to have meticulously-planned outdoor reunions with limited and screened guests, a strict schedule, and no videoke or alcohol, as well as two weeks of preparation by minimizing contact with other people.
With everyone’s cooperation and participation, HPAAC firmly believes that it’s entirely possible to still have a joyous Christmas celebration, even in the new normal—and stop the spread of COVID-19 in the process.