Gatchalian wants IATF to ban all fiestas, street parades, processions

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian urged the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases to ban all fiestas, street parades, and processions in the Philippines while the COVID-19 continues.

On Twitter, Gatchalian said, “Hindi pa tapos laban atin sa Covid. Dapat mahigpit na huwag payagan ng IATF ang lahat ng: (Our battle with Covid is not yet over. The IATF should strictly prohibit the holding of the following:)

1. Fiesta

2. Prosesiyon

3. Street parades

4. Mass gatherings

5. Mass celebrations.”

“Dapat i-ban na kaagad,” he added. (These should be banned immediately.)

The senator made the remark after the OCTA Research team said that there was a “clear upward trend” of following the holiday season gatherings.

The OCTA Research Team also warned the that a “significant surge” in COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region () could occur in the next few weeks following the holiday season.

Gatchalian wants IATF to ban all fiestas, street parades, processions

The researchers added on their report that the UK COVID-19 variant may be already in the Philippines and “super spreader” gatherings such as the Feast of the Black Nazarene could contribute to the possible surge.

To address this, the OCTA Research team called on the government to increase testing, contact tracing efforts, the capacity of the healthcare system, and expedite the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines for an efficient implementation of the immunization program.

According to the research team, the reproduction number of the virus, which indicates the average number of people who may contract the disease from an infected person, has increased to 1.13, based on the data from the Department of Health.

They explained that the last time the virus’ reproduction number became higher than 1 was on December 21 (1.02). A rate above one shows the virus is spreading, the researchers said.

Meanwhile, OCTA reported the number of new cases in Metro Manila also increased due to the more than 400 testing centers that resumed normal operations after the holidays.

Although the cases in NCR increased, the positivity rate observed in the region over the past week remained at 4% which is within the 5% “ideal” rate recommended by the World Health Organization.