The Department of Health (DOH) has issued a health advisory regarding the observance of the traditional Simbang Gabi or dawn masses Catholics participate in.
To mitigate the spread of the dreaded Covid-19 virus transmission, the DOH reminded the public to reduce contact rate or avoid exposure to the virus by attending online masses instead of in-person gatherings.
The agency urged those physically attending masses to comply with the following minimum public health standards:
– Faithfully observe physical distancing of at least one meter apart from other people;
– Proper wearing of face mask and face shield at all times in public spaces;
– Limit the length of activity or exposure; and
– Ensure adequate ventilation in the venues;
The amended IATF-EID omnibus guidelines on the community quarantine allowed religious gatherings under the following conditions:
– Not more than five persons in areas under the modified enhanced community quarantine.
– Not more than 30% of the seating capacity of the venues are occupied in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ); and
– Not more than 50% of the seating capacity of the venues are occupied in areas under modified GCQ.
As Simbang Gabi can easily become a Covid-19 super-spreader event, the DOH said the government is preparing for a post-holiday surge to avoid overwhelming the country’s health system capacity.
“The DOH is not prohibiting holiday celebrations, but we call on everyone to think of safety -our own and our loved ones- as we enjoy this season,” the advisory read.