MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday called on the public to remain vigilant and to reassess their plans for the holidays amid increasing cases of COVID-19 in the country.
The DOH made the appeal as it reported 1,623 additional COVID-19 cases in the country, bringing the total confirmed cases to 2,841,260. The latest tally is higher than the 889 recorded on Wednesday and over 300 in the previous days.
“With the newly-reported cases doubling the past two days, the DOH enjoins everyone to do what is within our power to avoid making the year 2022 another version of 2020. Let us act with utmost vigilance as if the highly transmissible Omicron variant is already here,” the agency said in a statement.
The DOH reiterated that the threat of COVID-19 remains despite wide COVID-19 vaccination coverage in the country.
With the holiday season, the agency urged the public to keep their celebrations safe by staying within the family bubble and limiting meetings to vaccinated individuals.
“The DOH calls on everyone, whether vaccinated or boosted to reassess their plans for New Year celebrations. [The] safest option will be to stay in your family bubble and avoid gatherings outside of your bubble,” it said.
But if they still prefer to meet with people outside their family, the agency advised the public to avoid eating together and keep their face masks on during the gathering.
“If you will still prefer to meet, then don’t eat together so you can safely keep your masks on while enjoying the company of family and friends outside of your bubble,” it said.
It also reminded families to have their elderly members vaccinated against COVID-19 as they are at most risk for critical and severe forms of the disease.
“Despite our progress in vaccination, we have approximately 1.5 million senior citizens who have yet to be vaccinated. They – who are at most risk of severe and critical COVID-19 – would be enough to fill our hospitals to the brim, leaving no room for others who have underlying conditions and are also high risk for admission,” the DOH said.
“We, thus, implore all families and caregivers to facilitate immediate vaccination and boosting of all senior citizens. The window to attain full protection before Omicron exposure is narrowing,” it added.
The DOH also urged local government units to conduct house-to-house vaccinations to achieve 100% coverage of the senior citizens’ population.
“Finally, do not discount any mild symptoms. Immediately isolate, get tested, and stay in isolation for 10 days. Notify your close contacts and ask them to quarantine for 7 days if fully vaccinated or 14 days if not vaccinated,” the DOH said.