After declaring the city under heightened restrictions under alert level 2 that took effect Thursday until January 15, the Inter-agency Task Force upgraded the city’s alert level to three on the same day.
The IATF Thursday included Baguio among the 11 local government units placed under alert level 3 upon the recommendation of its sub-Technical Working Group on Data Analytics.
Baguio joins Dagupan City from Region 1, Santiago City in Region 2, Region 3’s Angeles City, Bataan and Ologapo, Batangas and Lucena City in Region 4-A, Naga Cit in Region 5 as well as Ilo-ilo and Lapu Lapu City in Regions 6 and 7 in the Visayas under the higher alert level.
Earlier, Metro Manila and the nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal and later Laguna were placed under the higher alert level until January 15 due to the surge in Covid-19 cases blamed to the Omicron variant.
In declaring the country’s most populous areas under alert level 3, President Rodrigo Duterte urged authorities to implement minimum health standards to combat the rise in Covid cases.
The stricter quarantine protocols, the president said, is aimed to minimize mobility and exposure of the coronavirus while also saying that all should follow since “it is a must”.
He also told local officials to apprehend unvaccinated people in public places.
Meanwhile, 52 new Covid cases were logged Thursday bringing the active cases to 287 from the low four 12 days ago as the city continue to see another increase after a “lull” in December.
The 272 six day total this month is more than twice the 104 logged during the entire December.
Magalong earlier asked locals to be wary of the new variant, though milder than the Delta variant, which caused the second wave of surge in September and October last year, is highly contagious.
“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 the Omicron variant regardless of vaccination status.
The city will allow a maximum of 4,000 tourists per day and accommodation establishments shall limit guest capacity to 70 percent occupancy until January 18 and tourists 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.
Magalong also imposed a curfew 12 midnight until 4AM and a liquor ban that starts at the same time until 12 noon.
In an interview Monday with local media posted on the PIO Baguio Facebook page, city administrator Bonifacio dela Pena said that there is no recorded Omicron variant in the city but he is confident that the city is ready in case there is a surge on Covid-19 cases due to Omicron.
He added that they have a contingency plan and have readied resources to deal with the surge.
There are two deaths the past six days, while 13 persons recovered Thursday for 29 recoveries for the first six days of the year.