Public gatherings may proceed with caution

February 17, 2020

PUBLIC gatherings or meetings and festivals that draw a huge number of attendees may now be permitted provided precautionary measures against the COVID-19 are strictly observed.

According to Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), local government units (LGUs) can continue with some assemblies for as long as they commit to implement policies of the Department of Health (DOH).

Malaya yesterday said that the DILG, DOH and the Department of Tourism (DOT) have jointly agreed to implement this new policy following the meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases in Malacanang last Friday.

The DOH on February 7 came out with an advisory urging the cancellation of concerts and other public events and gatherings following the outbreak of the novel corona virus in Wuhan, China that spread to other countries..  

“While they may continue with public gatherings at their discretion, we wish to remind the general public to wash your hands regularly, and to seek medical attention if signs of cough, colds, sore throat and fever appear,” Malaya said.

LGUs he added, should strictly implement all the guidelines in handling guests during this global emergency which includes monitoring all participants in public events with infrared thermometers, providing all their participants with hand sanitizers or 70% isopropyl alcohol, asking everyone to use surgical masks (not N95) if possible, and providing wastebaskets for the proper disposal of all types of wastes.
“If the LGU decides to push through with their public events, they should discourage those with cough, colds, sore throat and fever from attending and they should have medical personnel on standby for any eventuality. Moreover, they should closely coordinate with their DOH counterparts so that they are properly guided,” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte himself has encouraged his fellow countrymen to travel with him around the Philippines.

In a video message uploaded by Radio Television Malacañang on Friday morning, Duterte assured the public that it is safe to visit the country’s tourist spots.

“To my fellow Filipinos, I encourage you to travel with me around the Philippines. I assure you that everything is safe in our country, be it an issue of health, be it an issue of law and order, and be it an issue of accessibility,” he said.