Our Christmas celebration this year will never be the same as it used to be before this deadly new coronavirus (Covid-19) arrived on our shores. The virus was first detected in Wuhan, China in December 2019.

For almost two years, the world has mostly been at a standstill. The mighty countries and developing nations are badly hit by this virus; they have suffered so much of this tragedy. In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of the novel virus a pandemic.

With only 17 days left before all the Christian nations will celebrate Christmas, I could not help but express concern this early of what would be the outcome of the unabated Christmas celebrations come January 2022 since some offices or companies have already begun their Christmas parties.

Last year, after festivities or celebrations, like the Holy Week, fiestas and Christmas, the surge in Covid-19 infection was inevitable. This time may be different because most of us are already vaccinated. But still it behooves upon us to be careful, disciplined, and to comply with the protocols like wearing the face mask properly when outside our homes or in a crowded place and using hand sanitizers or washing hands with soap.

Health authorities and Malacañang have announced the downtrend in the Covid-19 infection. But with the advent of Omicron, the new variant of Sars-CoV-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19) is a concern.

In the lead-up to the May 9, 2022 polls, the candidates, particularly those running for president and vice president, have started their sorties to big cities and provinces, gathering huge crowds that could be a source of the spread of the virus.

The Department of Health and the Commission on Elections have laid down the guidelines in the candidates’ conduct of the campaign like no hugging, handshakes, selfies and big crowds. But it seems that the guidelines are just ignored by the candidates, particularly the popular ones who have the money to spend.

On the threat of the Omicron variant, I agree with Fr. Nicanor Austriaco Jr., a molecular biologist and an OCTA Research fellow, in his calming words: “Don’t panic, but be careful.” If I may add, let’s not be complacent.

Judging the past one year living amid the pandemic, the surge in the infection all started with being too self-righteous, if not hardheaded.

“First, there is no need to panic. Let us celebrate Pasko (Christmas). This is the best time in 20 months for the entire country,” Austriaco said. (Inquirer.net)

In relation to the Omicron variant, has Malacañang, through the IATF, laid down rules and possible sanctions for those who do not comply with the health protocols?

Some legislators have opposed the move of President Duterte to make the vaccination against Covid-19 mandatory. I strongly support mandatory vaccination because there is an abundance of vaccines right now, and vaccination is the only way we can reach the number to attain herd immunity.