Couples for Christ cancels international meet over virus fears

Uncertainty over flight schedules, possible quarantine on arrival were among reasons cited to cancel Jakarta event
Couples for Christ cancels international meet over virus fears

A security officer checks the temperatures of tenants of an office building in Manila amid coronavirus fears. (Photo: AFP)

The Couples for Christ (CFC), a Catholic lay ecclesial movement, has announced the cancellation of an international conference in Indonesia due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The event, which was supposed to start on Feb. 11 in Jakarta, will not proceed to ensure the health and safety of delegates.

"As aptly put by one of those who were consulted, health and safety considerations far outweigh financial concerns," said Redentor Ragojos, president of the CFC International Council.

At least 1,300 delegates from different countries had been expected to attend the annual week-long Singles for Christ (SFC) International Conference 2020.

Ragojos, however, said the uncertainty surrounding flight schedules and possible quarantine on arrival in Jakarta were among the reasons to cancel the event.

"The risk of being infected by the virus compelled the Philippines-based International Council to make this decision," he said in a statement released to the media.

In a separate statement, SFC said that although Indonesia gave assurances that the country was safe and undergoing strict health measures, "our leaders are greatly concerned about international travel exposure."

Indonesia has yet to report a case of novel coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, infection among its 270-million-strong population.

A study by a group of researchers at Harvard University, however, suggested that Indonesia should have confirmed cases by now.

In the Philippines, 284 people had been tested for the virus as of Feb. 9. The Philippines has three confirmed cases, affecting patients who hailed from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, in Hubei province, China.

The first patient has since recovered but remains hospitalized, the second patient who accompanied the first to the Philippines died on Feb. 1, while the third patient was discharged after recovering and allowed to return to China.

Outside the Philippines, two Filipinos were reported to have contracted 2019-nCoV: one was based in the United Arab Emirates, and the other was a crew member of a Japanese cruise ship.

Thirty Filipinos were repatriated to the Philippines from Hubei on Feb. 9. They, along with two consulate staff, will be quarantined for 14 days at the New Clark City Athletes' Village in the province of Tarlac.

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