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Goverment switches policy on public events amid COVID-19 risk

by | Feb 18, 2020

Read the original article from Philippine Star here: https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2020/02/17/1993884/goverment-switches-policy-public-events-amid-covid-19-risk

MANILA, Philippines — Despite the threat of the new coronavirus disease, public gatherings and festivals in the country may still proceed as long as precautionary measures are in place, the government now says.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government announced this Monday, a week after the Department of Health recommended the cancelation of big events or mass gatherings due to worries over the spread of COVID-19.

Local government units should monitor all participants attending public events with infrared thermometers and provide attendees with hand sanitizers or alcohol, DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said.

LGUs were also ordered to ask attendees to use surgical masks and provide waste baskets for the proper disposal of trash.

The DILG official also said that those with fever and respiratory symptoms should be discouraged from attending public events.

“They (LGUs) should have medical personnel on standby for any eventuality. Moreover, they should closely coordinate with their DOH counterparts so that they are properly guided,” Malaya said.

He added: “We have to show to our constituents that we have their safety in mind so let’s issue the necessary advisories before we hold these public meetings and events.”

Fears over the deadly coronavirus illness forced the cancelations of concerts, fan meetings of international artists and festivals across the country.

The coronavirus disease that emerged in central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year has spread to nearly 30 countries. It has infected more than 70,000 and killed nearly 1,800.

The Philippines has three confirmed cases—including the first fatality outside mainland China. The country’s first COVID-19 patient has been discharged from the hospital, while the third confirmed case has since returned to China.

Latest figure from the DOH showed that 453 patients under investigation in the country have tested negative for COVID-19.