By JOSEPH GREGORIO
BAGUIO CITY — Mayor Benjamin Magalong announced on January 31 the cancellation of crowd-drawing events in the City of Pines after consulting with health officials and members of the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation, Inc. regarding the threat posed by the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
“After due deliberation, I would like to make an announcement that I’m canceling the Panagbenga street parade tomorrow. Second is, I am also canceling the scheduled CARAA on February 16 to 21,” the mayor told the media.
The city set the opening parade for the month-long Baguio Flower Festival (Panagbenga) on February 1.
Magalong also announced the postponements of other activities that may draw crowds and visitors. The suspension includes the pedestrianization of Session Road this Sunday.
However, the official said they have yet to decide on the cancellation of the Grand Street Dancing and Float parade scheduled on February 29 to March 1, respectively. The events are the major crowd drawers, with thousands of residents and tourists flooding the major streets of the city.
“We’re doing this because we just would like to be proactive about it. We are very much concerned about the health of our residents and visitors in the city, and we are just making sure that we are doing everything preemptive,” the mayor explained.
Before the announcement, an online petition urging city officials to postpone Panagbenga already made rounds on social media. As of this posting, 16,040 signed the petition.
“We all have the right to panic if this freakin government still opens its doors to tourists. Cancel the celebration of Panagbenga 2020 and lock down the city of Baguio against tourist[s] to prevent 2019 Wuhan Coronavirus from entering the city to protect its people against the said virus. Life is much more precious than money. We, the people of Baguio, petitioned to cancel the celebration of Panagbenga 2020 to reduce at least or prevent the possibility of entering the Wuhan Coronavirus to the said city,” the Change.org petition said.
CAR still nCoV-free
The Department of Health Regional Director Dr. Amelita Pangilinan said that Cordillera Administrative Region “remains fee” of the 2019-nCoV. She assured that they are doing the necessary monitoring and coordination with all the provincial health departments, barangay health workers, and other health service providers.
The DOH-CAR chief also confirmed that they are currently monitoring an individual from China who arrived in the region last January 19, 2020, but with no history of travel to Wuhan, China.
According to her, as of January 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) recorded 7,818 confirmed cases of 2019nCoV infection, 7,736 or 99 percent of which are in China. She noted that deaths from the disease already reached 170.
Pangilinan said that in the Philippines, 29 persons are under investigation for probable 2019 infection from the virus, including the one confirmed case. She also underscored that the WHO identified the country as a “high-risk area” for the spread of the disease.
Meanwhile, City Health Officer Dr. Rowena P. Galpo said a private hospital declared three Chinese students who sought medical attention free from the 2019nCoV.
According to her, the individuals went to the hospital after having trouble breathing. However, the observation noted the individuals did not possess the conditions of the infectious disease.
“We must continue to keep ourselves healthy by ensuring our immune system is strong enough to combat whatever virus that we are exposed to,” she stressed.
Galpo reminded the public not to panic and assured that they are ready for the worst scenario. She said they already learned lessons from the meningococcemia experience 15 years ago.
The officials and BFF organizers vowed to monitor the situation and keep the people informed on the events in the coming days. # nordis.net