EVEN as coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases continue to decline, the Department of Health (DOH) is not yet keen on seeing the return of face-to-face Christmas parties.

In a virtual press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they would still recommend virtual Christmas gatherings to avoid transmission of the virus.

"It is still best to hold virtual parties for this Christmas. I know this is already the second Christmas with a different form of celebration, but it is necessary," said Vergeire.

"Hopefully, we can do these kinds of sacrifices so we can prevent further infections in the community," she added.

She said the threat of Covid-19 remains present despite the number of cases already on a downward trend.

"Although cases are going down in the country, we need to remember that Covid-19 remains present and that we can still get infected or infect others," said Vergeire.

For those who will opt to hold physical holiday gatherings, the health official said it is better to set several health and safety parameters.

Vergeire said it would be best if attendees must be limited to fully vaccinated individuals, held in open spaces, wearing face masks, and observance of physical distancing.

She said it is also better if there will be no buffet and that food will be served per plate.

"If they really want to have these gatherings, let us maintain these safety protocols to avoid infection," said Vergeire.

Still on a drop

Based on the current projections of the DOH, Vergeire said cases in the Philippines are seen to continue to go down for the rest of December.

She said this is if the public remains adherent to the minimum public health standards and gets vaccinated.

"Our projection is it will continue to go down until the end of the year, both here in the National Capital Region and in the whole Philippines," said Vergeire.

Vergeire said their projection does not factor in yet the threat of the Omicron variant. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)