Dangerous situation: DOH worries over mass gathering at Manila Bay ‘white beach’

MANILA, Philippines —  The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday called the gathering of crowd at the Manila Bay “white beach” over the weekend a “dangerous situation” as it raised the possibility of COVID-19 transmission for breach of minimum health protocols.

“Ito ay delikadong sitwasyon. Baka magkaroon ng paghawa-hawa ang mga pumunta dyan na hindi naipapatupad ang minimum health standards (This is a dangerous situation. The spread of infection among those who went there is possible for not observing the minimum health standard),” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeira said during an online briefing.

Vergeire said that upon receiving the report on the situation at the Manila Bay on Sunday, they immediately relayed the information to the Department of Interior and Local Government and the City of Manila.

“We saw that they immediately did some actions on this,” she said as she noted that the Philippine National Police (PNP) already augmented its personnel for crowd control.

“Ito ay isang nakakabahalang sitwasyon. Alam po nating hindi pa tuluyang nawawalang ang virus (This is a very worrisome situation. We know that the virus is still here),” she said.

Vergeire said projects like rehabilitation of Manila Bay are a laudable project but stressed that minimum health standards must be implemented, “Kailangan natin ipatupad ang minimum health standards.”

The IATF, she said will probably discuss Sunday’s mass gathering in Manila Bay.

“I think tomorrow in the IATF [meeting] this will also be discussed. Antayin natin ang magiging desisyon ng Inter-Agency Task Force regarding the matter (Let’s just wait for the Inter-Agency’s decision on the matter),” she added.