Philippines sees 1,298 new Covid-19 cases, people urged to avoid Christmas gatherings

A health worker performs a swab test for detection of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a school turned evacuation center for residents affected by Typhoon Vamco, in Rodriguez, Rizal, Philippines, Nov 27, 2020. - Reuters

MANILA (Xinhua): The Department of Health (DOH) of the Philippines on Tuesday (Dec 1)reported 1,298 new confirmed cases of Covid-19, bringing the country's total tally to 432,925.

The DOH said that 135 more patients recovered, raising the total number of recoveries to 398,782. The death toll climbed to 8,418 after 27 more patients died from the coronavirus epidemic.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque again urged people to be aware of the risk of their actions in celebrating Christmas and welcoming the new year.

"It's a long celebration, but we have to be careful. Otherwise, we will squander our gains. Let us not be complacent," Duque told local television in an interview on Tuesday.

"There would be more people going out this holiday season, and therefore increasing contact, also the transmission rate. There could be a potential surge of cases," Duque said.

The Philippine government prohibits mass gatherings during the holidays, including family reunions, parties, and Christmas caroling to curb the virus' spread.

Duque reiterated the guidelines to avoid crowds and travel during the season and limit the gathering to immediate family members.

"We dissuade people from inviting even relatives coming from different places. You can be going around, merry-making, but you are harbouring the virus, and you could be spreading it unwittingly," he said.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has extended the level of general community quarantine in the capital Manila until Dec 31 in efforts to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in the holidays.

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Philippines , covid-19 , Christmas , gatherings


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