Albay governor cancels Magayon Festival

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – Albay's famed Magayon Festival has joined the list of the country's tourist-magnet events scrapped because of health fears caused by the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara announced the cancellation of the month-long Magayon Festival Wednesday, February 5, during a meeting with all department heads of the provincial government at the Governor's Guest House.

The Magayon Festival is held every April in honor of the Bicol Region's iconic Mount Mayon.

"We need to avoid events that will draw in crowds," said Dorothy Colle, provincial tourism officer.

As of this posting, there are still no recorded incidents of nCoV infections in the Bicol Region.

In the same meeting, Bichara approved Albay's purchase of 4 thermal scanners to identify people with fever and other flu-like symptoms.

These thermal scanners will be placed at the Legazpi City Domestic Airport, Legazpi City Grand Bus terminal, malls and a a still unspecified public place.

The Provincial Government of Albay  advised the public to practice proper hygiene to prevent the spread of  infections. It also advised anyone showing symptoms of the virus such as coughing, sneezing, having hard time to breathe and respiratory ailment, toseek medical doctors and to do self-quarantine.

Isolation hospitals

The Department of Health in Bicol designated 3 government hospitals to be used in case of an nCoV outbreak in the province. These are the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital in Albay, Bicol Medical Center in Naga City and Bicol Sanitarium in Cabusao, Camarines Sur.

Dr. Ernie Vera, DOH Bicol director, said during the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council meeting held at the Office of Civil Defense Wednesday, that all referrals for suspected nCov patients will be referred to these hospitals.

The BRRTH, BMC and Bicol Sanitarium hospitals passed through the medical examination of Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU) of Department of Health regional office here.

Vera said that BRTTH would admit persons under investigation (PUIs) for the virus from the provinces of Albay, Sorsogon, Masbate and Catanduanes; while the Bicol Medical Center will take PUIs coming from the provinces of Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte.

The Bicol Sanitarium would be the alternative facility in case of th high number of PUIs in the two identified government referral hospitals.

The RDRRMC and OCB Bicol led by Claudio Yucot has also created a task force to handle nCoV issues in the region to be headed by Vera. – Rappler.com