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COVID-19 Protocols And Guidelines: What You Need To Know For The Holidays

Medically reviewed by Jezreel Esguerra, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Fiel Tugade · Updated Jan 29, 2023

    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 BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron Subvariants Threat

    Update on the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron Subvariants

    There are many studies that are still ongoing to discover the nature of these two Omicron subvariants. But recent data suggests that these new subvariants are capable of dodging the immune system that was enhanced by the existing vaccines. Fortunately enough, the symptoms of these new subvariants highly resemble the symptoms of its mother variant Omicron. This means that it is relatively mild in comparison to other variants like the Delta variant, which brought many deaths worldwide.

    But as this was an ongoing threat for a few months now, the government started to ease restrictions regarding the protocol and guidelines us Filipinos should follow. 

    Current Updates of the Policy and Guidelines Regarding the Pandemic

    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. Guidelines like the use of facemasks and contact tracing are now eased-up and are now part of recommendation rather than a policy. Additionally, there are still no talks about bringing back the implementation of the face shield policy.

    Currently, the DOH is still on the lookout for possible changes in COVID-19 protocols and guidelines should the need arise. Given these uncertainties, it is best to 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 the spread of infection. 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. 

    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 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.

    Medically reviewed by

    Jezreel Esguerra, MD

    General Practitioner

    Written by Fiel Tugade · Updated Jan 29, 2023

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