The government has ordered that all cemeteries across the Philippines will be closed from October 29 to November 2 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease.
People can, however, visit the tombs of their departed loved ones any day except on the said days.
The cemeteries can open later but only up to 30 percent capacity.
People will also be required to observe basic health protocols, including the wearing of face masks and shields and the observance of physical distancing.
Filipino families traditionally visit cemeteries and hold gatherings on the graves of their departed loved ones during the observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.
The annual two-day tradition of visiting the tombs is a major family affair in the Philippines before the pandemic and an occasion for singing, dancing and merrymaking in cemeteries.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año announced that the inter-agency task force on COVID-19 has already released guidelines to close all cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbaria.
He also urged local government units to pass ordinances or executive orders to ensure public safety during the All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day observance.
Last year, cemeteries in Metro Manila were also closed during the same dates.
The mayors in the Philippine capital Manila have earlier agreed on a resolution restricting entry to cemeteries during the said days.
On Tuesday, the Department of Health reported 4,496 new COVID-19 cases — the lowest in almost three months — bringing the nationwide tally to 2,731,735.
It was the lowest daily case count following July 28, when there were 4,478 new infections.
The positivity rate – or percentage of tested people with positive results – dropped from 13.4% based on 55,044 tests on October 16, to 12.4% based on 35,766 tests reported on October 17.
The rate should be below 3% to indicate there are adequate testing efforts, according to US nonprofit COVID Act Now.
For the World Health Organization, a positivity rate of below 5% means the infection has been controlled.