Testing negative for COVID-19 does not guarantee a safe pass to be around people.
The World Health Organization-Philippines issued this reminder on March 22, ahead of the religious activities during Holy Week.
It has been a tradition for many Filipinos to observe the last week of Lenten season with their families and friends.
However, with the still raging COVID-19 pandemic, local authorities discouraged these events for the second time this year, particularly in areas with high coronavirus transmission rates.
In a new resolution last March 27, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) re-implemented the stricter enhanced community quarantine over Greater Manila Area (the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal) from March 29 to April 4.
In addition to this, WHO shared an infographic that showed the incubation period of the virus.
“Even if you get tested for #COVID19 before the Holy Week travels or gatherings and the result is negative, it’s not a guarantee that you don’t have #coronavirus. You may have been exposed and tested during the virus’ incubation period,” the caption read.
In the infographic, the WHO cited scenario which follows a woman named Angel who was exposed to the virus and got herself tested on the fifth day.
Her tests, however, rendered negative.
After receiving the negative COVID-19 test results, Angel attended a family reunion on the eighth and ninth day thinking she did not have COVID-19.
On Day 14, Angel showed symptoms of the virus and got herself tested again. This time, results showed she contracted it.
This 14-day incubation period had been the basis why health organizations highly advise self-isolation for individuals who were exposed to a COVID-infected patient or had been waiting for their coronavirus test results for two weeks or at least ten to 14 days.
Under the comments section, some social media users added the importance of wearing face masks and social distancing.
“This is very true. Another reason why people have to continue wearing masks and social distancing,” one user said.
“That’s why it is a MUST to PRACTICE this 14-day quarantine based on a study!” another user said.
Last week, St. Luke’s Medical Center shared campaign materials that depicted the consequences of being hospitalized due to COVID-19 to encourage the public to stay at home and follow the minimum health protocols.
The first post featured two photos of men wearing different types of masks, a face mask and an oxygen mask.
The second post, on the other hand, featured two photos of women lying on on the sofa and on a hospital bed.
One Reddit user, meanwhile, shared a similar advisory in a form of a meme that’s more menacing.
“PSA on what not to do this coming holy week,” the post read.
The meme showed cartoon version of a church and the virus. The evil-looking virus supposedly said: “Take me to church.”