Palaro still on, but DepEd postpones other events due to novel coronavirus

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Amid the novel coronavirus threat in the country, the Department of Education (DepEd) announced it is pushing through with the 2020 Palarong Pambansa after all. 

DepEd made the announcement on Tuesday, February 4, a few hours after saying in a Senate hearing on the novel coronavirus that the annual sports event as well as other regional sports events would be postponed. 

"Right now the policy is for temporary postponement of all these activities because it will be drawing in learners, teachers, family members from all regions," Education Secretary Leonor Briones earlier said during the Senate hearing. (READ: TIMELINE: The novel coronavirus epidemic)  

The department later clarified in a tweet that the Palarong Pambansa was not included in the list of suspended events.

Only events happening this February – the National Schools Press Conference, the National Science and Technology Fair, and the National Festival of Talents – would be suspended, according to DepEd. 

The 2020 Palarong Pambansa will take place in Marikina City in April. Briones said it is expected to draw around 30,000 students and their families. (READ: Things to know about Palarong Pambansa, the PH’s largest youth sporting event) 

"Another issue, a major concern of course is that reservations have been made for airline flights, hotels, and so on, but we are looking into these little aspects," Briones also said during the hearing.

It was unclear whether this was the reason that the DepEd is taking back its statement on the postponement of the multi-sport event.

DepEd said it would release a memorandum for more details about postponements.

Briones also discouraged schools from holding field trips for the time being, but said they could if they wanted to. Briones also said class suspensions were not necessary and that the DepEd was coordinating with local governments in this respect.

As of Tuesday, February 4, the DOH was probing 80 people for 2019-nCoV. This figure includes the two confirmed cases, 68 others who were still in hospitals, and 10 who have been discharged but are still being monitoring. Of these, 48 samples are awaiting confirmation for the 2019-nCoV, while 30 have tested negative. –