COVID-19 Protocols and Guidelines: What You Need To Know for the Holidays

    COVID-19 Protocols and Guidelines: What You Need To Know for the Holidays

    What better way is there to celebrate Christmas than to be with family and friends? But how can we navigate the holidays when the pandemic is still here? What are COVID-19 protocols and guidelines we should be mindful of with all the gatherings and festivities this month? Here are some of the things you need to know.

    The Omicron Threat

    Due to the lower number of cases across the country, the InterAgency Task Force (IATF), together with the local government units (LGUs), has eased restrictions in many places, including Metro Manila. However, just as a semblance of normalcy was returning, the world was taken back by the announcement of a new variant of concern Omicron. This brought the IATF to, once again, tighten border controls for those coming to the country.

    Despite the threat, the Department of Health stated that there are no Omicron cases to date detected inside the country. Together with this, there are still no talks about bringing back the implementation of the face shield policy. But the DOH is still on the lookout for possible changes in COVID-19 protocols and guidelines should the need arise. Given these uncertainties, we should all still abide by established preventive measures like the wearing of face masks and physical social distancing.

    Currently, Metro Manila is under alert level 1 and the wearing of face mask is now voluntary in both indoor and outdoor settings save for three areas namely health facilities, medical transport service, and all kinds of public transport.

    COVID-19 Protocols and Guidelines To Enjoy the Christmas Season Safely

    You can still make the holidays merry and bright while taking into consideration the following precautions:

    • Prior to saying yes to an event, make sure to check local regulations. Before organizing or attending an event, always be aware of the laws that are in effect. This includes sanitation measures, travel permits, and health declarations, such as a COVID-19 swab test result that is negative.
    • Check yourself before meeting other people. If you or other family members are feeling sick, it may be best to skip the activity. Stay at home to prevent other people from getting infected. Doing so can also lessen the chances of immunocompromised people in your home from acquiring any infectious disease.
    • Consider limiting the number of attendees. As stated in the government’s COVID-19 protocols and guidelines, keep the number of attendees to a minimum. One way to keep the festivities going is to gather a few attendees in different locations, then hold a video conference call with each household.
    • Consider having your events in an open area. Outside activities and al fresco dining can provide better ventilation to reduce the risk of infection.
    • Bear the COVID-19 protocols and guidelines in mind. Being with a small number of people does not eliminate the risk of contracting the virus, thus it is still advised that you strictly abide by the rules. Wear your mask at all times. Make sure that you sanitize or disinfect often. When you have the chance, thoroughly wash your hands, and avoid touching your face or the mask with your hands. Maintain social distancing even if you are just with your family and friends.

    Travel Plans? Here’s What You Need To Know

    The good news is you can now travel to your favorite destinations in the Philippines in time for the holiday season. For example, Boracay is open to travelers provided that they have the following requirements:

    • Filled-out Online Health Declaration Card
    • Proof of Identification with Philippine residency
    • Proof of Vaccination Status
      • Vaccination Card (for Fully Vaccinated Individuals)
      • Negative RT-PCR (NPS/OPS or Saliva) Test Result from any DOH-accredited laboratories taken within seventy-two (72) hours (for Unvaccinated and Partially Vaccinated Individuals)
      • Certificate of Undertaking Travelling with Minors (for below 12 years old)
    • A copy of the confirmed booking slip/form from a DOT-Accredited Boracay Island accommodation establishment
    • Roundtrip flight/travel details

    Key Takeaways

    It is a delight to know that we can travel and gather together this holiday season. However, that does not mean we should disregard the still-present threat of COVID-19 and new variants like Delta and Omicron.

    If you wish to travel, make sure to check for every little detail you need to know about. It would also be best if you have yourself tested before and after the trip.

    Vaccination, mask wearing and social distancing work. Be merry and festive, but make sure that your family’s health and safety are your top priorities.

    Learn more about health news here.

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Sources

    IATF tightens border control, suspends entry of fully vaxxed travelers from ‘green’ countries, https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1521457/iatf-tightens-border-control-suspends-entry-of-fully-vaxxed-nationals-from-green-countries-amid-omicron-threat#ixzz7EotqjL5t, Accessed December 10, 2021

    New Covid-19 cases drop to 379; active infections down to 11.9k, https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1162419, Accessed December 10, 2021

    IATF: No talks on bringing back face shield policy yet despite Omicron threat, https://cnnphilippines.com/news/2021/12/8/IATF-face-shield-Omicron.html, Accessed December 10, 2021

    DOH: PH still no case of Omicron, https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1526077/doh-still-no-ph-case-of-omicron, Accessed December 10, 2021

    IATF: Metro Manila under Alert Level 2 until December 15, https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2021/11/29/2144649/iatf-metro-manila-under-alert-level-2-until-december-15, Accessed December 10, 2021

    8 Safe Ways to Celebrate a Family Gathering Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic, https://www.makatimed.net.ph/news-and-exhibits/news/8-safe-ways-to-celebrate-a-family-gathering-amid-the-covid19-pandemic, Accessed December 10, 2021

    Caticlan (MPH) Travel Requirements, https://www.philippineairlines.com/en/ph/home/covid-19/TravelingWithinThePH/Caticlan, Accessed December 10, 2021

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    Written by Fiel Tugade Updated 4 weeks ago
    Fact Checked by Vincent Sales