Festivities may proceed with precautionary health measures – Tourism chief

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Fiestas and other local events may proceed despite the corona virus disease (COVID-19) scare, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said on Friday, after a number of towns cancelled celebrations. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 14) — Fiestas and other local events may proceed despite the corona virus disease (COVID-19) scare, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said on Friday, after a number of towns cancelled celebrations.

Puyat said her agency, and the departments of Health and Interior and Local Government will release a memorandum stating that town events may take place as long as safety measures are observed.

"We want to assure you that all our stakeholders in the tourism industry have already implemented all these precautionary measures even before the temporary ban, so it's safe," Puyat told the media after a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The Baguio City government has postponed the grand opening parade of its widely anticipated Panagbenga or flower festival last month and moved it to March along with its other attached events over the COVID-19 threat. The DOH earlier advised the public to avoid crowded places to prevent risk of health concerns caused by the virus.

Officials of La Trinidad town in Benguet and Kalinga province also cancelled the Strawberry Festival and the 25th Kalinga Foundation Day as a precautionary move.

The DOH said 455 people are still under monitoring for possible COVID-19 infection. However, 386 patients or 85 percent have already tested negative.