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DOH issues guidelines on upcoming Christmas celebrations

It's Christmas season and that means gift-giving and family dinners.

However, we are still in the middle of a pandemic, so the Department of Health (DOH) issued some guidelines on how we can celebrate responsibly.

Aside from warning against singing karaoke with people other than those you live with at home, the DOH also advised to limit social interaction to less than 15 minutes.

This is because of a recent study that says even 15 minutes of interaction can result to infection of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

"So kung hindi naman natin magagawa yan, kailangan lang magkaroon ng pag-avoid sa mga ganitong gatherings. O di kaya if we can maintain social distancing or physical distancing during this gathering," said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire during an interview on "Unang Hirit" on Tuesday.

It would also be better if the celebrations would be held in well-ventilated areas or open spaces.

Vergeire also said that in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ), up to 10 people are allowed in a gathering. Those under modified GCQ could have until 50 guests.

"That is still a lot of people and infection may occur," she said.

"Kaya nga po sinasabi natin baka naman pwede na ma-avoid na lang natin 'yung mga ganitong pagkakataon during the holidays, talagang within the households muna ang magsaya. Ang mga ibang kamaganak, maaari naman through social media o mga Zoom na tinatawag natin ngayon," she added.

Another thing to avoid are buffets. Vergeire advised to opt for plated foods, and if families insist on gatherings, to stick to packaged meals.

"Para hindi na tayo nagsasabay-sabay sa pagkuha ng pagkain, hindi rin tayo nagkakasalo-salo sa pagkain," she said.

And of course, best not indulge in karaoke.

Earlier, Vergeire had said a recent study found that singing released the highest load of viral transmission compared to talking and breathing. —JCB, GMA News