Boracay bans tourists due to coronavirus fears

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 18 2020 07:06 PM

Tourist-favorite Boracay Island sees a drop in tourist arrivals due to the COVID-19 scare. Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

MANILA- The municipality of Malay in Aklan which covers Boracay Island will deny entry to tourists starting Thursday as it places the town under general community quarantine to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Tourists, whether local or foreign, shall be denied entry to the town including Boracay Island.

Workers and residents of Malay town are exempted from the entry ban but those coming from areas with confirmed COVID-19 cases are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine.

The town quarantine will be effective starting 10 p.m. on Thursday and will remain effective until it is lifted by the town’s acting mayor Frolibar Bautista, according to a local executive order.

During the general community quarantine, movement will be limited to accessing basic necessities and work. Uniformed personnel and quarantine officers will also man borders.

The local government is also imposing a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Boat trips to and from Boracay will be limited between 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. only. The measures were adopted even as Boracay has yet to record its first case of COVID-19.

The new directives are seen as an added blow to Boracay’s tourism industry which has seen a sharp decline since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the Philippines due to virus fears.

Tourist arrivals in February for the island dropped by 40 percent to 103, 834 from the 172,695 recorded in the same month in 2019, data from the Malay Municipal Tourism Office showed.