MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte’s scheduled visit to Boracay to promote local tourism has been postponed due to the rise in the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the country, Malacañang said on Wednesday night.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this announcement after the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed 16 more positive cases of Covid-19, bringing the total number of cases to 10 in the country.
“In light of the recent developments and after careful review of the situation concerning the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in the country, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will not proceed to Boracay Island on Thursday, March 12, as earlier scheduled. The visit of the President to the said island is moved to a later date,” Panelo said in a statement.
Earlier, Panelo said apart from promoting local tourism Duterte will also visit Boracay to distribute land certificates to beneficiaries there.
On Wednesday night, Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez bared that he will be on self-quarantine after having interacted with a reported Covid-19 patient.
“I was told that a fellow I met with last Thursday and Friday last week has tested positive for Covid-19 today. I have no symptoms but am self/isolating until I get tested. You may wish to follow suit,” Dominguez said in a statement.
Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade also decided to go on self-quarantine following exposure to a person who recently tested positive for coronavirus.
Senator Win Gatchalian said he will also self-quarantine after being informed that a resource person who attended the March 5 hearing on the Committee on Basic Education, Arts, and Culture last, which he chairs, tested positive for the highly-infectious disease.
“Though I am asymptomatic and feel healthy, I will follow government set protocols on such cases and go into self-quarantine immediately given that I interacted with the said individual during that committee hearing,” Gatchalian said in a statement.
He said he also instructed his staff to do the same, especially those who interacted with the infected person.
Instead of delivering his usual long speech with offhand remarks, Duterte on Wednesday read his short prepared speech in Malacanang amid the government’s efforts to reduce the risk of spreading the Covid-19.
Duterte’s speech during the oath-taking ceremony of newly-appointed generals and flag officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and star rank officers of the Philippine National Police (PNP) lasted for less than five minutes.
He took more a minute to administer their oath, and less than five minutes to read his speech congratulating them for their accomplishments.
At the start of his speech, he explained that he was told to heed the advisory of the Department of Health (DOH) to avoid organizing or joining events that draw huge crowds in a bid to contain the spread of the disease.
“They are discouraging long meetings and large congregation,” he said.
He then went on to read the rest of his prepared speech.
The Covid-19 outbreak that was first detected in Wuhan, China, resulted in more than 4,200 people dead and infected over 119,000 in more than 100 countries.
The country is now under a state of public health emergency after the health department reported the first known local transmission of coronavirus and the rise in confirmed cases in the country.
The Department of Health reported on Wednesday 16 new confirmed Covid-19 cases, bringing the total number to 49. (PNA)