COVID-19 case outbreak will not derail tourism reopening — Mayor

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The escalation of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases will not derail the scheduled reopening of the city’s tourism industry to Region 1 starting Oct. 1, Mayor Benjamin Magalong said today.

The mayor said the outbreak in three barangays which triggered the spike was not caused by random or unidentified cases but was due to contacts of current cases tracked in contact tracing activities.

This means that almost all of the cases were connected to previous patients, had been contained or quarantined since detection of the main case and therefore had not had further interaction with other persons in the community.

“We don’t expect the outbreak to affect our tourism plan. After all, we know where the cases are coming from and containment measures had been done before their diagnosis came,” the mayor said.

“We are ready because these cases have already been confined and isolated from the community. In fact, we expect more cases to happen in the next days because of the continuing contact tracing and expanded testing but we are okay because we know where our cases our coming from and have undertaken measures,” he said.

“I can say that we are okay because we are aware of our situation and we know what is happening on the ground. Hindi yung bulag tayo kung ano ang nangyayari. We know where it is happening that’s why we were able to address it,” he added.

City Tourism Operations Officer Aloysius Mapalo said that under the Visitors’ Information and Travel Assistance (VISITA) registration platform and travel guide, the city as of Sept. 27 has had a total of 398 user account registrations and 47 travel requests, 29 of which from Region 1,13 from the National Capital Region (which will come in third phase) and five from other regions with the earliest travel request date so far slated on Oct. 11.

“But there is no approved travel just yet pending completion of documents including COVID-19 test results,” Mapalo said.

Under the “Ridge and Reef” travel corridor, only tourists from Region 1 will be allowed to visit the city through the guided tour concept as the first phase of the program. Phase two will include Regions 2 and 3 and phase three, all other regions.

Yesterday, the city posted its highest number of COVID-19 cases in a day at 68, 56 of whom were police trainees staying in the barracks located in one barangay and part of the cluster with 83 cases.

The rest were also contacts of other previous cases in other household and barangay case clusters.

City Health Services Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo said there were three major case clusters so far while the rest had already been contained.

In the past days, the city had incurred multiple cases which the mayor earlier warned residents to expect with the continuation of incessant contact tracing and expanded testing activities.

“We are still expecting more cases but what is important is that their contacts are being traced and isolated at once,” the mayor said. – Aileen P. Refuerzo

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