MANILA, Philippines – Organizers of festivities connected with the Chinese New Year celebration on January 25 said the countdown event scheduled in Binondo on Friday will still push through amid the threat of novel coronavirus spreading internationally.
Thousands of people are expected to troop on Binondo streets during the countdown event on Friday night, making the transmission of the virus from an infected person very likely in this kind of environment.
Cholo Sediaren, one of the organizers of the Chinese New Year in Manila, said they are closely coordinating with local authorities for the safety of the participants amid the threat of a new coronavirus strain which has already killed 17 in China.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to pull off na would be enjoyable but at the same time be safe for everyone especially since the line-up is really big and we are expecting a lot of people to attend,” Sediaren said.
Authorities in the District of Binondo – also known as Manila’s Chinatown – said they are on alert against the disease and distributed face masks to their constituents to prevent them from getting the virus.
They also advised residents not to join the festivities if he or she is feeling under the weather or are having flu-like symptoms such as cough, fever or colds.
The National Health Commission of China reported that as of Wednesday, more than 500 people have been infected by the new coronavirus strain. There are eight other known cases from other countries – Thailand has four confirmed cases, while Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and the United States have each reported one.
The previously unknown coronavirus strain was first detected in the Chinese City of Wuhan in late December 2019.
In the Philippines, there is no confirmed case yet of the new coronavirus strain according to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III. However, they are monitoring several individuals from China who were reported to have manifested symptoms of respiratory illness.
Common symptoms of novel coronavirus include cough, throat irritation, and fever.
Coronavirus, which is a large group of viruses common among animals, causes respiratory infections ranging from common colds to more serious diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
The virus can be transmitted to humans through contact with an infected person or animal, authorities said.
The Department of Health has advised the public to always practice frequent handwashing, avoid crowded places and contact with an infected person, and to thoroughly cook food, especially meat and dairy products. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)
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