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Baguio City shuts borders to tourists anew amid COVID-19 scare

Baguio City shuts borders to tourists anew amid COVID-19 scare

By Vincent Cabreza

BAGUIO CITY — The city government has again closed its borders to tourists on Sunday amid the threat posed by the COVID-19 Omicron variant and the rising number of infections.

The city’s Visitor Information and Travel Assistance (Visita) platform stopped entertaining applications from tourists beginning on Sunday (Jan. 2), following a meeting called by Mayor Benjamin Magalong, said Aloysius Mapalo, city tourism operations supervisor.

More than 190,000 tourists have visited Baguio City as of Dec. 26.  The city reopened its doors to tourists during the Halloween and All Saints Day weekend in November.Only fully vaccinated tourists have been allowed entry into the mountain resort city.

But the City Heath Services Office said Baguio City’ COVID-19 active cases rose to 64 on New Year’s Day from only 4 on Christmas Day.

The city had been tracking a sustained drop in infections before the sudden spike last week.The city, however, will still honor approved schedules and hotel bookings secured by guests prior to Jan. 2, although visitors would still be required to undergo triage and other border / health screening measures, Mapalo said.

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“(But) all pending travel requests are considered rejected and (would not be) allowed entry,” according to a tourism office advisory.

IN PHOTO: The pond area fronting the presidential Mansion at Wright Park has become a popular jogging and walking path where Baguio City residents and visitors enjoy the fresh mountain air.