Number of holiday tourists manageable; handful found with COVID sent back home

BAGUIO CITY  – The number of tourists who came up to Baguio City during the holidays had been manageable and that the scant number who tested positive for the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) upon arrival were not allowed further entry to the city and thus did not pose any threat to residents.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong and City Tourism Operations Officer Aloysius Mapalo said that entry protocols for tourists under the registration platform were complied with.

The mayor said the city increased the daily limit of visitors but they made sure that hike remains at a manageable level.

“Very manageable ang tourists na umakyat dito.  They average 800 to 1,200 a day and most are staying for about 3-5 days.  Our entry protocols will be maintained,” he said.

Mapalo reported that for December, the city chalked up a total of 19,242 travels with the highest number of entry recorded last Dec. 30 at 1,707.  The city listed 800 travels in October and 5,535 in November.

The running total of the approved travel requests since October 1 last year when the city started reopening its doors to tourists on a limited basis up to Jan. 3 this year had reached 27,143 out of the total requests of 28,372.  A total of 628 had been disapproved as these were from outside Luzon.

Mapalo said there were seven visitors who turned out positive for the virus upon entry last December but they were not allowed to enter and instead were kept in isolation facilities prepared for them on site and were immediately sent back home using arranged transportation in keeping with the city’s strict entry protocols.

“Before December, we did not have any positive case upon arrival because most came up with negative results already so only a few underwent tests here and all of them were negative,” Mapalo said.

The mayor said the city will continue to require visitors to comply with health and safety protocols which include undergoing COVID test.

Other requirements are the online filling out of registration forms and submission of documents (ID, negative swab or antigen test results and itinerary). – Aileen P. Refuerzo