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Baguio logs 3-digit new Covid cases, active cases rise to 248 from 4

FROM 5,000 TO 4,000 TOURISTS. Mayor Benjamin Magalong signed Executive Order 1 that takes effect today that limit tourist arrival from 5,000 to 4,000 due to the exepected surge brought by the Omicron variant of Covid-19. Here tourists enjoy a cold morning at the Mines View Park Photo by Neil Clark Ongchangco / PIO Baguio

The city logged its biggest new confirmed Covid-19 cases since October 19 with 109 new cases and the four active cases in December 26 is now a high 248 five days into the new year as mayor Benjamin Magalong’s first executive order for the year takes effect implementing heightened restrictions to the current alert level 2.

It nearly doubled the 149 active cases on January 4 as the city logs its first three digit new cases which is more than the 104 recorded for the whole month of December of last year.

As this developed, mayor Benjamin Magalong, who recently arrived from the United States for a quick visit to his parents and now under mandatory quarantine, asked locals to be wary of the new variant which might be milder than the Delta variant which caused the second wave of surge in September and October last year.

“This is why we should not take the common threat lightly and do everything to prepare through tightened restrictions, enhanced all-around control measures and strict adherence to minimum public health standards including the proper wearing of appropriate personal protective equipment like face masks,” said the mayor in a statement released by the Public Information Office – Baguio.

Magalong specifically told residents to use medical-grade face masks or even double mask for better protection against eh Omicron variant regardless of vaccination status.

“People may opt for double masks using cloth masks over surgical one for added layer of defense against the new variant said to be far more contagious than the previous one,” the mayor said in the PIO Baguio release.

Highlights of EO 1-2022 that starts today until January 18 include a maximum of 4,000 tourists per day and accommodation establishments shall limit guest capacity to 70 percent occupancy.

Travellers coming from areas under alert level 3 are required to present their negative RT PCR test, if none, must undergo antigen test.

Unvaccinated travelers will be refused entry.

A curfew that starts at 12 AM and lasts until 4AM is also in effect as well as a liquor ban that starts at 12AM until 12 noon.

In an interview Monday with local media posted on the PIO Baguio Facebook page, city administrator Bonifacio dela Peña said that there is no recorded Omicron variant in the city.

Dela Peña, who read Magalong’s New Year’s message to City Hall employees during the first flag raising ceremony this year, assured that the city is ready in case there is a surge on Covid-19 cases due to Omicron.

Dela Peña said: “Contingency plan is in place and resources had been readied.”

While noting that “mobility is one factor for the increase of cases,… The number of cases is still minimal and manageable at present.”

Meanwhile, the city logged its second death of the year bringing the total deaths to 722. There were eight deaths for the whole month of December, down from 51 in November after highs of 171 in October and 148 in September.

Ten recoveries were also logged Wednesday, the biggest so far this new year and bringing the total to 16 and 29,306 total since the first case was logged in March 2020.

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