Philippines postpones nationwide mall sale amid coronavirus threat


People waiting along a road to buy protective face masks at a store in Manila, Philippines. The Philippine government on Saturday (Feb 29) postponed a scheduled month-long nationwide mall sale aimed at cushioning the economic impact of the (Covid-19) coronavirus outbreak. - AP

MANILA: The Philippine government on Saturday (Feb 29) postponed a scheduled month-long nationwide mall sale aimed at cushioning the economic impact of the (Covid-19) coronavirus outbreak.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the event, which was scheduled to start on Sunday, will not push through.

Given the alarming rise of the infections of the disease all over the world during the past few days, the Department of Tourism (DOT) has postponed the nationwide mall sale "until further notice," the secretary said.

"As much as we want to mitigate the economic impact of the Covid-19, the safety of our citizens remains our priority," Puyat added.

The event is part of the DOT's Philippine Shopping Festival this year.

Puyat said the DOT prioritises the safety of the Filipinos more than visitor arrivals and revenue.

Already, Puyat said the DOT has coordinated with the mall establishments to inform them about the postponement of the nationwide sale to a later date for the safety of their customers.

"The malls are still free to continue its day to day operations," Puyat said.

She further said the DOT also recommended that malls follow the precautionary measures set by the Department of Health such as checking the temperatures of mall-goers before allowing them to enter and the provision of more hand sanitizers in their premises.

In February alone, the DOT said the Philippines is expecting to lose billions of pesos due to the impact of the outbreak to the tourism sector. - Xinhua/Asian News Network
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