Christmas with a twist: Experts share tips to stay safe from COVID-19 during the holiday season

As the holiday season draws near, ushering in festive gatherings and reunions, it is important more than ever to shield our families and loved ones from the risk of contracting COVID-19.

Christmas with a twist: Experts share tips to stay safe from COVID-19 during the holiday season
(Clockwise) Dr. Aileen Espina, Member, Philippine Academy of Family Physicians; Dr. Carmela Agustin Kasala, Member, Philippine Pediatric Society; Dr. Inday Dans, pediatrician, epidemiologist, UP-PGH; and Dr. Anna Ong-Lim, chief of the  Pediatric Infectious Disease division, PGH
Medical experts belonging to the Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC), a group that represents various healthcare organizations in the Philippines, said it is still possible to be celebrating the holidays while still observing safety protocols.

“We at HPAAC believe we can still celebrate Christmas, but with a twist. How do we do our shopping? Do online shopping. What about Misa de Gallo? We have drive-thru mass,” said Dr. Aileen Espina, national director of the Philippine Academy of Family Physicians, during an online roundtable on Sept. 24.

If you are planning to hold a reunion, Espina said it is best to check with existing ordinances on top of observing health and safety measures.

“You should know the existing ruling in your barangay if you are planning to invite people outside of your household. Make sure you have soap for handwashing as well as disinfectants. Make sure everyone who is attending is wearing a mask. And whoever belongs to the same household should be together in one table,” she added.

Other HPAAC members who attended the discussion were Dr. Maria Carmela Agustin-Kasala, chairperson of the public relations engagement system services comm of the Philippine Pediatric Society; Dr. Anna Ong-Lim, chief of the Philippine General Hospital’s Pediatric Infectious Disease division; and Dr. Inday Dans, a pediatrician and epidemiologist from PGH.

Other tips that emerged during the dialog were holding meticulously-planned outdoor reunions with limited and screened guests, sticking to a strict schedule, and avoiding serving alcohol.

The experts also recommended two weeks of preparation by minimizing contact with other people prior to the reunion.

Topics: COVID-19 , Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 , Aileen Espina
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