DOH urges public to wear masks in cemeteries as risk of super spreader event looms
MANILA, Philippines — Saying there is a risk of a super spreader event of COVID-19 during Undas or All Saint’s Day, the Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday urged the public to still wear face masks when visiting the cemetery in November.
Health officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire urged the public to do this even as wearing face masks became optional outdoors.
Vergeire stressed that cemeteries that draw huge crowds during November do not fall under a “low-risk setting.”
“This is the first time siguro na bukas tayo at makakapunta lahat, so sana nagpapaalala tayo sa ating mga kababayan na tayo po ay manatiling mag comply sa protocol natin sa kaligtasan, kahit po tayo nasa labas ng ating mga bahay, this is an outdoor event, kailangan po naka-mask po tayo dyan,” Vergeire said in a press briefing.
(This is the first time we are fully open, and everyone can now come to cemeteries, which is why we are reminding the public to comply with the safety protocols—even if this is an outdoor event, we still need to wear masks.)
“Kasi hindi po yan low risk na setting, dahil marami pong tao na pupunta dyan, magsisiksikan, kailangan may proteksyon kayo,” she added.
(Because the cemetery does not fall under a low-risk setting, since many people will visit there, that will cause crowding, so we need protection.)
President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., through an executive order, allowed the voluntary wearing of face masks in outdoor settings nationwide on September 12.
The DOH official also urged the public to visit their departed relatives to get booster shots.
“Siguraduhin nyo din po na natanggap nyo na ang first booster shot niyo kung kayo po ay pupunta sa mga sementeryo para dalawin ang inyong mga mahal sa buhay,” she said.
(You should also make sure that you receive your first booster shot when visiting cemeteries to visit your departed loved ones.)
While making the reminder, Vergeire expressed optimism that Filipinos will now know what to do since this is the third Undas celebration under the pandemic.
“In any event that there would be crowding, that there would be lots of people interacting especially katulad nitong undas, yung nagsasama sama po ang pamilya sa ating mga cemeteries, ito po ay isang risk para magkaroon ng super spreader event.
(In any event that there would be crowding, that there would be lots of people interacting, especially during Undas, when families are gathering in the cemeteries, this is a risk for a super spreader event.)
“Pero sa tingin ko, dito sa dalawang taon na nakakalipas tayo ay nagkakaroon ng Undas alam na natin ang gagawin,” according to her.
(But I think, in the past two years, we have celebrated Undas, we already know what to do.)
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For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.
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