The police force is discouraging public displays of affection in light of the spike in COVID-19 cases in the country.
Police Brigadier General ldebrandi Usana, spokesperson of the Philippine National Police, appealed for couples to refrain from hugging, kissing and holding hands outside of their houses.
In another report, he said that the appeal extends to close friends who are “very dear to each other, family clans and group of people.”
“The virus may be right before them. Infection happens to families, it can happen to anyone, anywhere,” Usana said.
He further said that people “should maintain being cautious from the spread of the virus” as the metro sees an uptick of COVID-19 cases, in part due to the presence of new and more contagious variants from South Africa and the United Kingdom.
“And if you love your spouse, your children, you have to be conscious of the minimum health and safety protocols,” the PNP spokesperson added.
Usana hoped that the public would observe the protocol even without police intervention, especially in commercial and recreational establishments.
He said that no immediate arrests would be made and that offenders would just be called out by the authorities.
PNP Chief Debold Sinas claimed that the policy on PDAs has long been in place and that they were just strictly implementing it amid the rise of COVID-19 cases.
This directive failed was not warmly welcomed by Filipinos who urged the police to look after the strict implementation of the minimum health protocols instead.
These are the requisite wearing of face masks and face shields, physical distancing of at least one meter and regular handwashing.
“Why not mas pag-igtingin na lang ‘yung proper wearing of masks, face shields tsaka social distancing. ‘Yung nga ‘di pa nila mabantayan (nang) maayos eh, ayan pa kaya,” a Reddit user wrote.
“They could reinforce the implementation of proper mask wearing na di labas ang ilong to cover the whole face and yet they prioritize these outrageous ideas… Parang may masabing may nagawa kahit ‘di pinagisipan ang rationale…” another online user on the platform wrote.
“Unless the display of affection involves coughing and sneezing at each other, this is a waste of time and resources,” a social media user from Twitter likewise commented to the reports.
Surge of cases
Experts from OCTA Research warned that the country’s daily tally of new COVID-19 cases could reach 6,000 a day by the end of March if no intervention is done to curb the virus transmission, especially in the wake of new variants.
The group said there was a 42% increase of additional cases in the metro based on the daily tally of new cases.
The National Capital Region’s reproduction rate, which refers to the number of individuals that a COVID-19 positive can infect, also increased.
Experts added that all cities in the metro had an upward trend in new cases, particularly a “very sharp two-week” increase of more than 40% in Quezon City, Makati, Taguig, as well as in Parañaque, Caloocan and Mandaluyong.
Four cities also remain as high-risk areas, namely: Pasay with a daily attack rate of 30% per 100,000, Makati, Malabon and Navotas.