Protecting your family vs COVID-19 for the holidays

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    As the holiday season approaches and Filipinos begin to prepare for the festive gatherings and reunions, it’s more important than ever to shield our loved ones from the risk of (coronavirus disease 2019) COVID-19.

    Medical experts from the Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC), a group that represents various healthcare organizations in the Philippines, held a virtual roundtable to discuss various ways to protect ourselves against the virus over the holidays.

    A large part of the knowledge shared during the event focused on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during gift-giving and small family gatherings. Dr. Aileen Espina, national director of the Philippine Academy of Family Physicians, emphasized that social activities are still possible provided that 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 reinforcement of wearing face masks and shields 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.

    The speakers also recommended arranging tables based on households or social bubbles and avoid going to different tables during the get-together. For those who want to give gifts, it is best to order online instead of going out, and have them disinfected thoroughly before receiving.

    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.

    Besides Espina, Dr. Maria Carmela Agustin-Kasala, chair of the public relations engagement system services committee 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 also shared numerous tips on protecting the family at Christmas.