Baguio City not on lockdown over virus scare, mayor clarifies


Posted at Feb 05 2020 05:22 PM | Updated as of Feb 05 2020 05:35 PM

Burnham park, Baguio City, Sept. 23, 2017. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Baguio City is not on lockdown amid the threat of the new coronavirus, its mayor clarified on Wednesday.

"Wala pong lockdown sa Baguio (There's no lockdown in Baguio.) We are still open to visitors and tourists," city mayor Benjamin Magalong told radio DZMM.

He made the announcement after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier said the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) homecoming may be rescheduled due to a supposed city-wide lockdown for tourists and visitors.

"Gusto ko lang pong klaruhin dahil honest mistake ko naman po 'yong nabanggit niya (I just wanted to clarify because what he mentioned was my mistake)," Magalong said.

Due to the growing spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD), the city had also postponed several crowd-drawing activities, such as the Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic (CARAA) Meet and International Jazz Festival.

The city had already canceled the opening parade of the Panagbenga Festival and would still have to decide if it would push through with the grand street parade and grand float parade scheduled on Feb. 29 and March 1, respectively.

"Pag-uusapan po namin kung ano ang gagawin namin do'n. Malalaman niyo po next week kung itutuloy o ipo-postpone (We will still have to decide what to do with it. You will learn next week if it will push through or postponed)," he said.

The PMA leadership has also yet to decide if it will continue with its homecoming, which is scheduled on Feb. 14 to 16, Magalong added.

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During the interview, Magalong said English as a Second Language (ESL) schools are also closely monitoring foreign students, especially Chinese, studying in Baguio.

"Everyday tinitingnan ang kanilang condition, mini-measure ang kanilang temperature (They are checking their conditions and measuring their temperatures everyday)," he said, adding the schools have also temporarily refused accepting students.

As temperature in Baguio continues to drop, Magalong also allayed fears that flu may be common in the city because of the colder weather.

"Marami po kaming respiratory problems, cases dito dahil malamig... kaya may flu-like symptoms kami rito at tinututukan po ng Department of Health (DOH) (We have many respiratory cases here because of the cold weather... that's why some are exhibiting flu-like symptoms and the DOH is on top of it)," he said.

On Wednesday, the city's temperature is expected to drop to 11 degree Celsius due to amihan or northeast monsoon, which brings cold air from the northern hemisphere, according to state weather bureau PAGASA.