By Jennylou Canon

PHOTO: Blogspot

"Kaya po 'yan."

This was Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque's answer on Thursday when he was asked about the possibility of a no mask Christmas.  

Molecular biologist Fr. Nicanor Austriaco Jr., O.P. said that by October, the containment o population protection can be achieved, and if 250,000 daily vaccinations are held in the NCR Plus, herd immunity can be achieved by November.

Palace then commented on this, saying that the government is aiming for population protection.

"Kaya nga po we are aiming for population protection or 'yung containment na sinasabi ni Fr. Austriaco kasi alam natin sa mga bansang nakamit yung containment, hindi na sila nagmamask at least sa outdoors gaya po ng Israel at ibang lugar sa Amerika. That is what we're aiming for. Tama po si Fr. Austriaco, a mask-less Christmas," Roque said.

According to Austriaco, minimum health protocols such as social distancing and mandatory mask wearing can be lifted once COVID-19 containment is achieved.

“Israel showed that once you attain containment you do not even have to have herd immunity, the average daily attack rate has to fall between 1 and 100,000, that is about 100 cases per day in the NCR. When that happens, we can begin to lift social distance and masking arrangements. This is something that we can imagine,” he said.

Moreover, Austriaco added that once the country has a steady vaccine supply, the containment can be achieved.

COVID-19 containment means that 40 to 50 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated against the virus, while herd immunity means that 70 to 80 percent of the population has been vaccinated.

Report source: Philippine Daily Inquirer