Philippines: Communal eating and smoking noted to cause Covid-19 spread

10 September 2020

NewsLine Philippines:

DAVAO CITY — A top health official says Communal eating and smoking together in chambers are seen to open opportunities for COVID-19 to spread as these require masks to be taken off.

A report published by the Philippine Information Agency stated that no less than Health Undersecretary for Vis-Min Field Implementation Office, Dr. Abdulla B. Dumama Jr., explained that eating together is an activity or event that prompts people to remove their mask and gather in close distance.  

In his recent statement during the Davao del Norte BIDA Solusyon Kontra COVID-19 Provincial Launch held at Panabo City Hall Lobby on September 2, Undersecretary of Health Vis-Min Field Implementation Office, Dr. Abdulla B. Dumama Jr., explained that eating together is an activity or event that prompts people to remove their mask and gather in close distance.  

“Yung pagkain ng sabay-sabay sa maliit na lugar, magkakatabi, meron nang 50 percent na kung merong nagka COVID19 doon, siguradong ubos kayong lahat (When people are eating together in a small area, right next to each other, there is 50% chance if someone has COVID19, for sure everyone will have the chance of getting it),” he said.

He added that people gathered in a smoking area with their masks off are also vulnerable to contracting the pandemic.

“Pangalawa, yung mga naninigarilyo, doon sa mga smoking area nila. Kung saan binubuksan mo ang bibig mo at tinatanggal mo yung mask mo, doon ang marami (Second, those who smoke in their smoking area. Whenever you open your mouth and you remove your mask, that’s where it’s rampant),” he added.

He also cited cases of people not following the health protocols when inside a transportation vehicle, during parties, and in meetings as causes of COVID19 transmission.

Pointing out that observance of the health protocols rests in the people’s hands, he encouraged people to call out individuals who are not following the health protocols.

“Pwede rin po kayong manita…kung may makasalubong kayo sabihan niyo ‘boss pwede yung mask mo itaas mo lang (You can remind people…if you come across someone, you can tell them ‘boss, please wear your mask properly’),” he said.

Likewise, he also advised people not to be offended in the event that they are on the receiving end of the reminder.

“Huwag po kayong magagalit. Ang ibig sabihin nun, nag ca-care sila sa inyo (Don’t be mad, because it just means that they care about you),” Dumama added.

The BIDA Solusyon Kontra COVID19 Provincial Launch aimed to create a resounding call for people to adhere to the health protocols at the household level.

The  BIDA Solusyon Kontra COVID-19 Davao del Norte Provincial Launch drew the participation of representatives from the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA), Inc;  DANA Foundation; Barangay Health Workers Association; punong barangays of identified vulnerable barangays of Panabo City, and officials from the Liga ng mga Barangay Captain of Panabo City; from the religious sector; from Panabo Vegetable  Vendors Association; and from leading commercial establishments.

Organized by the Philippine Information Agency XI, the Davao del Norte Provincial Launch of  BIDA Solusyon Kontra COVID-19 was aimed at networking with sectoral and community organization leaders to carry the BIDA Solusyon messages to the grassroots levels.

The event was designed to make sectoral leaders understand their crucial roles in changing mindsets and behaviors of community folks towards fully practicing the mandatory healthy protocols: wearing facemasks, sanitizing, social distancing, and accessing the right information.

PIA XI tied up the event with the Incident Management Team of Davao del Norte COVID-19 Operations Center whose incident commander, Dr. Alfredo Lacerona mobilized the Provincial Health Office Health Education Promotion Officer (PHO-HEPO) and the HEPO of Panabo City Health Office.

PIA  XI also tapped the involvement of the Provincial Information Communication and Knowledge Management Office (PICKMO) to provide television and radio coverage, and the City Information Office of Panabo to serve as the host of the launching program. (Jan Vincent Leuterio/ Jeanevive Duron Abangan, PIA XI Davao del Norte)