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This Week in Northern Luzon (September 19 to 25, 2020)

Baguio and Ilocos plan to reopen to tourists. Read on for more quarantine updates.

By: Antonette Louise Guiao | September 19, 2020
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COVID-19, Quarantine Updates, lockdown, Transportation News, Health News, COVID-19 vaccine, public transportation

Baguio and Ilocos are finally planning to reopen to tourists. Amid plans of restarting tourism, Baguio City implemented new lockdown rules for specific barangays to help curb the spread of COVID-19. The local government has also begun to slowly ease social distancing protocols in hopes that it works, but is ready to revert to the old measures if problems arise. In global news, clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine have just resumed after being briefly paused due to safety reasons.

Quarantine Updates

3 areas in Baguio placed under lockdown; other lockdown in areas lifted

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong issued new memorandums last September 14, 2020, lifting and imposing new lockdown orders in specific areas in the province. The lockdown over Purok 4 and 5, Riverside, Barangay Happy-Homes-Lucban is now lifted, while provisional lockdown orders on Barangays Purok 3, Barangay Camp 8, Old Forestry Compound, Lower Engineers Hill, Barangay Engineers Hill, and Purok 3, Barangay Poliwes will be effective immediately and until further notice. [1]

Travel News

Baguio laid out requirements for Region I tourists

On September 22, Baguio City will welcome back tourists, but only ones coming from Region 1. In preparation for this, Baguio City’s local government has given the requirements for those interested to visit the City of Pines. All tourists must fill out a health declaration form online via the city’s website. Information such as personal info, intention of trip, contact person in the city, vehicle that will be used, destination, photo, and travel clearance will be asked from them. They will be evaluated by the local government and will be contacted regarding their registration status. Those who wish to visit the city must also undergo triage at the city’s borders. [2]

Isolation facility required in Benguet before reopening for tourism

The province of Benguet will soon reopen its doors to tourists, but isolation facilities must be present in its 13 towns as additional preparation for the province. Benguet Mayor Melcor Diclas said that having isolation facilities in all of the 13 towns of Benguet will help them accommodate everyone if they reopen their tourism and COVID-19 cases arise. He also added that Benguet is trying to avoid local transmission of the virus to immunocompromised people and those with weak immune systems. Not all 13 towns in Benguet have isolation facilities, but the local government hopes that all municipalities will be able to establish one by the end of 2020. [3]

Ilocos Norte announces plans of reopening for tourism by October

Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Manotoc said that if things get better by October, Ilocos Norte will finally be able to reopen for Metro Manila tourists. Those who wish to visit the province must submit themselves to a RT-PCR test and have their trip pre-arranged. They will also have to pre-register using an online tourist registration system and book in a hotel accredited by the Department of Tourism and provincial government of Ilocos Norte.

All tourists must also be assisted by an accredited tour agency who will be managing the tourists and their itineraries. As a safety precaution, tourists will not be allowed to stay in the homes of their relatives or friends. Requirements including a travel authority, medical certificate, accomplished health declaration form, and a negative rapid antigen test must be secured before entry at the border. Original documents and IDs must be presented for identity verification as well. Tourists can stay for five days up to 30 days but those who wish to extend must undergo another test with a negative result. The local government and the hotel will handle travelers who test positive [4].

Transportation News

Duterte to decide on DOTr’s reduced physical distancing policy

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced that President Rodrigo Duterte will be deciding on the fate of the Department of Transportation’s new policy regarding reduced social distancing in public transportation [5]. Roque said that the Inter-Agency Task Force conducted a meeting about this new policy following warnings from medical experts that reduction of physical distancing among commuters may lead to easier transmission of the virus. Until the president decides, a one-meter distance will be enforced between passengers.

Global News

AstraZeneca resumes COVID-19 vaccine trials

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has been developing and testing a COVID-19 vaccine, but the trial was put on hold due to a “suspected serious adverse reaction”. But last September 12, the company announced that the clinical trials for the vaccine have now resumed. The UK Committee has already concluded its investigations about the trials and recommended to the Medicines Health Regulatory Authority that it is safe to continue with them. Other medical information cannot be disclosed to the public yet, according to AstraZeneca. [6]

Go to Yoorekka for more COVID-19 updates in Northern Luzon.

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About Antonette Louise Guiao
Antonette is a writer, a night owl, an extrovert, and a BTS ARMY. Her spare time is consumed by drawing digital vector art, sleeping, binge-watching Netflix series, and learning how to cook. An adventurer by heart, she aspires to travel the world with her family, try extreme outdoor activities, and taste all sorts of food in different countries.
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