Baguio tightens borders as COVID-19 cases rise in nearby towns

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 19 2020 09:04 AM

At the temporary vegetable trading post near the area known as Bgy, Puguis in La Trinidad, Benguet during the Coronavirus lockdown in Luzon on April 15, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Baguio City will tighten its borders after nearby towns saw an increase in COVID-19 cases, Mayor Benjamin Magalong said Thursday.

The city earlier formed a tourism bubble with nearby towns and Ilocos region. It opened its doors to Luzon tourists in October.

Stricter rules will be implemented on those coming from the towns of Tuba, La Trinidad, Sablan, and Tublay beginning Saturday, according to the mayor.

"Kailangan po talaga namin higpitan para di kami nagpapalitan ng infection. We were hoping also they will increase their contact tracing and testing capacity," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

(We need to tighten our borders so we don't exchange infection.)

Others towns have low testing and contact tracing capacity compared with Baguio, said Magalong who also serves as the country's' contact tracing czar.

"Kaya ho tumataas ang kanilang positivity rate," he said.

(That why their positivity rate continues to go up.)

The City of Pines had increased the daily number of tourists allowed to 500 from 200, Magalong said. Pre-pandemic, Baguio was able to accommodate 3,000 to 4,000 tourists daily and 7,000 on the weekends, he said.

Meantime, the Philippines' current contact tracing ratio is between 1:7 and 1:9, Magalong said.

"Nagiimprove naman po kaya lang parang usad-pagong," he said as he urged local governments without digital contact tracing to adapt government's app StaySafe.

(It's improving but it's slow-paced.)

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