JAKARTA, Indonesia

Philippines health secretary said the government is preparing for a possible surge in coronavirus infections as the holiday season approaches, local media reported on Tuesday.

In a weekly meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte on late Monday, Francisco Duque III said contingency measures will be up if the said possibility takes place, according to the Philippine Star.

“DOH [department of health] will be coming up with a contingency plan in the event of a post-holiday season surge in the number of cases. While the infections are slowing down, this shouldn’t mean that we will be lax or complacent,” the daily quoted the health chief as saying.

Health department on Tuesday warned the public that flocking to crowded places even with face mask and shield on could still lead to infections, the report said.

In late October, the agency issued a circular on the conduct of Christmas activities such as limiting the number of persons in gatherings as well as keeping activities short.

It has also advised against events that would require travel to areas with higher quarantine status.

The country has so far reported 420,614 COVID-19 cases and 8,173 fatalities from the disease, while 386,604 patients have recovered, according to the Health Ministry.

*Writing by Rhany Chairunissa Rufinaldo from Anadolu Agency’s Indonesian-language service in Jakarta

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