DOH prepares for possible COVID-19 cases surge after holidays

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 24) – The Department of Health (DOH) is preparing for a possible surge of COVID-19 cases after the holiday season.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the agency is creating a contingency plan that will outline the responsibilities of concerned national and local officials once a "post-holiday season surge" happens in the country.

"The DOH reminds all people that COVID-19 is still here in the country. That's why we need to take care of our health and safety for our loved ones," Duque said during the weekly Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases meeting on Monday.

Duque added the DOH will strictly implement its Department Circular 2020-0355 or the Reiteration of the Minimum Public Health Standards for COVID-19 Mitigation to remind Filipinos to still observe these health standards during the holidays.

The health and safety protocols mentioned in the circular are physical distancing, constant wearing of face masks and face shields, and frequent handwashing.

It also listed prohibited usual holiday activities to contain the spread of COVID-19. The list includes caroling, shopping in crowded markets and shopping centers, indoor gathering with large crowds, riding in packed public transportation vehicles, and other activities with physical contact.

The country's total COVID-19 cases are now at 420,614 of whom 25,837 or 6.1 percent are currently ill patients. Some 8,173 persons died and 386,604 patients recovered.