Over 4,000 COVID19 vaccines arrived in the CNMI last week and a segment of the community will be vaccinated first, like front-liners. When more vaccines arrive next year, hopefully, the whole population will get it.
Still, the CNMI community must remain diligent in observing health and safety measures, especially during the holidays when gatherings and celebrations are at its peak.
The CNMI is still under public emergency and remans on Community Vulnerability Blue. That means everyone must still be mindful that curfew begins at 12am and end at 4am, establishments should enforce social distancing precautions and promote the wearing of face masks and gatherings of people from different households should be limited to less than 25 people.
Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. CHCC Esther Muña asks the community to be extra diligent this season. “Let’s not let our guards down when it comes to community transmission and this has always been our message. Always go back to the 3 W’s: Wear a mask, wash your hands, watch your distance. We try our best and we have been doing it successfully to capture the ones at the border and isolate them from the community,” she said. “But, again, the science of it keeps changing. …Even when there is a vaccine we should be able to practice the 3 W’s as well. The community has been really good at this, making sure that we contain the virus. Even without community transmission, people still wear a mask etc. and please don’t get fatigued, don’t get tired, we need to do this so that, especially this Christmas, we are able to spend time with family and we can do that with limitations. We want to be able to do this until we are completely out of this pandemic.”
Hilda De Dios of Garapan said that when it comes to venue, people should consider having parties outdoors. “My family and I believe that outdoor celebrations and gathering would be the safest for everyone. Good thing we live on an island where we can be with family and friends at the beach, parks or even in our own backyards.”
Janine Montenegro of Tanapag said to make the guest list short and simple. “By saying that, I mean keep the celebration short, maybe maximum of three hours, and make the guest list below 25 people or even smaller,” she said.
Mario Elias of Sadog Tasi said that if you are feeling under the weather, skip the party. “If you are having flu-like symptoms, do not overlook it. Do not attend a party if you feel this way. Protect others by protecting yourself.”
COVID-19 Task Force chair Warren Villagomez said that Christmas caroling must be prevented. “… During this activity, social distancing and the wearing of face masks is not present. At the same time, it fails to comply with rules when entering any sites and offices such as signing up for contact tracing purposes and having one’s temperature taken. If an event like this happens, it’s abruptly moving from one area to another area,” said Villagomez.
“…Even health experts recognize singing as one of the fastest ways to spread the COVID-19 virus…We at the COVID Task Force, wants to make sure that the risk of any type of exposure or infection is avoided. All COVID-19 enforcement agencies are aware of this measure,” Villagomez added.