What you can do to have a safe Christmas – Leiria region

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In this pandemic year, Christmas meals are more restricted and with less physical presence, limitations that can be offset by digital connection to family and friends. At the request of the REGION OF LEIRIA, the company “Celeiro do Móvel” has prepared a Christmas table with a place to assemble a screen at the table, in a recreation that anticipates the reality of the dinner on the 24th and the lunch on December 25, 2020 Photo: Joaquim Dâmaso

1. What rules should families follow in trying to ensure a safe Christmas?
For a safe Christmas, with regard to Covid-19, it is necessary to provide for this festive period. Safety measures must be taken in the previous two weeks as well as at family gatherings during the Christmas holidays. In addition to the rules already disclosed and known, reunification with different families should be avoided. If the rules are followed, we will ensure that everyone can participate and that the consequences of these Christmas meetings do not compromise health in the weeks to come.

2. What precautions can or should be taken the previous days?
The recommendations are those already published to prevent the spread of the disease, namely the use of a mask at all times, the distance always greater than two meters, hand hygiene and ventilation of spaces. I also recommend reducing social contact in the previous two weeks, in order to reduce the risk of contact with Covid patients.

3. Is wearing a mask “mandatory” on Christmas Eve even if the group is small and it is possible to keep a certain distance?
The mask is a very important personal protective equipment, but it is complementary to the distance. I recommend the use of a mask, whenever possible, which can only be relieved at mealtimes and in ventilated spaces, when the distance is over two meters and for a short time. As the group is small, the risk of someone getting sick is reduced, but it is not possible to rule out the presence of illness.

4. Should grandparents and grandchildren get together for Christmas?
Christmas is the traditional time for family reunions and therefore I cannot support a ban on these reunions as they may be safe.

5. What special precautions must be observed in intergenerational contact?
The safeguard must be safeguarded during the family celebration, by wearing a mask outside of meals and by giving seniors a place of choice on the “head” of the table, because they are the most vulnerable, because it is the one. which allows the most distance. Spaces must also be ventilated.

6. No limit has been imposed in Portugal for family reunions. What maximum number would you recommend and why?
Imposing a specific number of people may not be the best security option. It is agreed that it should be reduced to a minimum and conditioned to the size of the space, always ensuring a safety distance of more than two meters.

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7. Should suspicious symptoms be considered and should the person choose to stay home?
Without a doubt. A fever may not be the first symptom of the illness. Therefore, special attention should be paid to any symptoms, namely fatigue, muscle pain, headaches, lack of taste and smell, cough …

8. What is a contact bubble and how important is it in today’s environment?
The contact bubble is the restriction of contacts to a small number of people or families, in order to know their movements well, ensuring that there is no introduction of the disease into the group by strangers . This can be important to preserve the health of those who are part of the “bubble”.

9. Are the traditional Christmas corporate dinners or lunches really something to forget this year, even with a very small number of people?
No doubt they will have to be postponed. If they do occur, they will bring people together from multiple locations and with multiple contacts in one location, increasing the risk of disease.

I recommend the use of a mask, if possible, which can only be relieved at meals and in ventilated spaces, when the distance is greater than two meters and for a short period “

Rui Passadouro, public health delegate at ACES Pinhal Litoral

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(Article published in the December 17, 2020 edition of REGION OF LEIRIA)

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