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PSC defers major sports activities amid nCoV threat

MANILA -- The Philippine Sports Commission has decided to postpone two major events that it will hold in the first half of the year to protect athletes and the public against the novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD).


In a press conference at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum here on Thursday, PSC chairman Butch Ramirez announced that the National Sports Summit initially scheduled for Feb. 27-29 and the Philippine National Games set for May amid the coronavirus threat.


"Yesterday morning, the board have been discussing the situation, and the results of the board meeting was... we are postponing big events of the PSC like the Philippine National Sports Summit supposed to be held at the PICC (Philippine International Convention Center), the Philippine National Games that will be held in Rizal Memorial and PhilSports [Arena] Pasig," Ramirez said.


Ramirez said the PSC will postpone the Batang Pinoy and Children's Games all over the country “except for pocket activities like coaches' education and consultative meeting."


Seminars and other gatherings that will have groups of people exceeding 40 are also shelved indefinitely considering the human-to-human transmission of the virus.


"We are avoiding a bigger assembly of people for fear of the times,” Ramirez said.


With the PSC already postponing the PNG, the country's top sporting body also looked at the possibility of postponing the 10th Asean Para Games scheduled this March.


"We have a board resolution advising the [Asean Para Games] to postpone the games in March," Ramirez said.


Ramirez said the Philippine Paralympic Committee (PPC) has the final say on whether the Asean Para Games will be postponed or not.


PPC president Mike Barredo, who was also present at the press conference, said the fate of the Asean Para Games, which was already postponed from January to March, will depend on his meeting with the Asean Para Sports Federation in Thailand on Friday.


Amid the global spread of the disease, the PSC remains proactive, most especially prioritizing the welfare of the athletes and coaches who are bound to train and compete abroad for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics.


“In terms of preventive measures, we have put out information materials for our national athletes and coaches. The PSC Board will not approve any foreign trips and exposures to China. Caution will be exercised on allowing athletes and coaches traveling to other countries for international competitions,” said Marc Velasco, PSC’s Chief of Staff and National Training Director.


Out of the 11 Asean Para Games countries, the host Philippines as well as Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Cambodia have confirmed cases of the deadly novel coronavirus which originated in Wuhan, China. Other Asean Para Games participants are Brunei, Indonesia, Myanmar, Laos and Timor-Leste.


The death toll in China from the novel coronavirus outbreak has climbed to 564, the country’s National Health Commission (NHC) said on Thursday.


The NHC said 28,018 confirmed cases have been reported so far and 73 people have died in the last 24 hours.


The number of people under medical observation has risen to 186,354, while the number of those thought to be infected is now 24,702, it added.


Regarding the Palarong Pambansa scheduled this summer in Marikina, the PSC said the Department of Education has the say regarding it. (PNA)

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