No torotot this year? – Then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte leading the city’s annual Torotot Festival.  The city, under Duterte, banned the use of firecrackers as part of the annual traditional new year revelry

While the Department of Health (DOH) advocated for years the use of trumpets (torotot) and whistles instead of firecrackers to welcome the New Year, the coronavirus pandemic forced health officials to discourage their use for welcoming the year 2021.

Health Undersecretary for Public Health Services Myrna Cabotaje said during the government’s annual anti-firecrackers campaign that the virus that causes the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) may be transmitted by saliva left on used trumpets and whistles.

“What is new for this year’s campaign is we don’t recommend the use of noisemakers using the mouth that will cause the transfer of saliva, like whistles and trumpets,” Cabotaje said during the online launch on Thursday.

The DOH instead urged the public use other alternatives to firecrackers like car horns, pots and pans, drums, coin banks, tambourines, glow sticks, and even playing loud music.

Cabotaje also reiterated the government’s warning against holding gatherings to celebrate Christmas and the New Year, stressing that this could lead to a surge in Covid-19 cases.  Social gatherings like Thanksgiving parties were being blamed as the cause of the resurgence of the virus in the United States.

 “Given the pandemic, we must continue to adhere to minimum health standards, such as use of face masks, sanitizing hands, and maintaining social distancing,” she said.

The Health Department also suggested the public to give face masks and face shields as Christmas gifts. Rommel F. Lopez