DOH, yet to recommend suspension of classes, banning of big public gatherings

Maris Federez

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health on Monday (March 2) said that it is not yet keen on recommending the suspension of classes and prohibiting big public gatherings in the country.

This is despite the moves of other countries suspending classes and banning big public gatherings to prevent further spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Several countries that were severely affected by the deadly disease, such as, China, Hong Kong, Italy, Kuwait, Japan, and the United Kingdom have already implemented class suspensions.

The government of Saudi Arabia has also temporarily prohibited the entry to the country for the purposes of certain pilgrimages called umrah and visits to Mecca and other practices of the Muslim faith.

In the Philippines, the Department of Tourism’s promotion of the nationwide mall sale of the 2020 Philippine Shopping Festival was also put on hold until further notice.

“Well, kailangan, ano, i-monitor muna natin ‘yong situation, ‘no. Kasi mahirap madaliin ‘yan kung hindi pa humuhupa ‘yong sitwasyon,” said DOT Undersecretary Benito Bengzon, Jr.

The DOH, however, said its decision not to declare class suspension and the banning of big events is due to the fact that the country has still yet to record any case of local transmission of the COVID-19.

The health department, nevertheless, advises the public to avoid crowded places, especially when they are not feeling well.

“We encourage our kababayans na iwasan muna sana kung maipagpapaliban ang mga big crowd events. So, kasama po iyon doon sa advisories. Hindi ho tayo makapag-issue ngayon ng imamandato talaga na bawal kasi wala ho tayong local transmission,” said Asec. Maria Rosario Vergeire of the DOH Public Health Services Team.

Vergeire added that the department will recommend class suspensions and banning of big events only when the COVID-19 situation in the country worsens. — (from the report of Asher Cadapan, Jr.) /mbmf

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