DOH: Too early to tell if Christmas parties will be allowed this year

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 16) — It's too early to say whether gatherings in time for the holidays - like Christmas parties - will be allowed this year despite declining COVID-19 cases, according to the Health department.

"For now we cannot say for certain that we will be allowing these parties by December," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a Friday briefing.

She warned that contracting the coronavirus from such events remains likely as they usually occur in enclosed spaces with huge crowds.

"Itong mga parties na ito siguro tingnan pa rin natin kung talagang magtutuloy-tuloy ang pagbaba ng ating mga kaso [Maybe for these parties, let's see if cases will continue to go down] and slowly we can go back to the usual things that we do," Vergeire added.

OCTA Research said in its latest monitoring report that all areas in Metro Manila - the epicenter of the local coronavirus outbreak - are now considered moderate risk for COVID-19.

The group said the capital region's reproduction number has gone down to 0.60, indicating that the number of people who can be infected is declining.

Latest data showed total COVID-19 infections in the country have reached 2,705,792 - including 78,999 active cases or people currently sick.