Coronavirus grounds Paraw Regatta Festival

The 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease outbreak has grounded the 2020 Paraw Regatta Festival. (DG file/R. Alejo)

By Emme Rose Santiagudo

After consultation with health authorities, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas decided to postpone the 2020 Paraw Regatta Festival and other big events in the city this February amid the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) acute respiratory disease outbreak.

“Upon consultation with the Department of Health (DOH) 6, City Health Office (CHO), and the organizer, Iloilo Festivals Foundation Inc. (IFFI), we decided to postpone the festival as a precautionary measure against nCoV,” Treñas announced Wednesday.

Following the temporary travel ban from mainland China since February 2, Treñas said the 14-day quarantine period will end on February 16, adding that there are two recorded persons under investigation (PUIs) in the city.

The mayor emphasized that the safety of the residents is their utmost priority.

“Just to be safe, we have to prioritize the safety of the public especially those that are prone to the disease. I hope that they will understand that we are doing this as a precautionary measure, especially because there are persons under investigation here in Iloilo City,” he added.

Treñas said they will look into holding Paraw Regatta in March 2020.

On January 28, the city government, together with IFFI and JCI-Iloilo Inc. signed a memorandum of agreement for the holding of the 48th Iloilo Paraw Regatta Festival.

The annual race of wind-driven paraws (Visayan double outrigger sailboats) is considered the oldest sailing event in Asia and the largest in the Philippines.

Meantime, Treñas said the La Paz Maternity and Reproductive Health Clinic will be utilized as isolation area for suspected nCoV patients.

He added that the city government has already prepared n95 masks, sanitizers, and other necessary equipment for health personnel.

A task force has also been formed to monitor, hotels, restaurants, and other establishments in the city.

“We are prepared. We try as much as possible to be prepared. We want to be ahead of the situation,” Treñas said.