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Total liquor ban, restrictions on dining, religious gatherings as Covid-19 cases reach record high

MORE RESTRICTIONS that include total liquor ban, selling and consumption, as well as a maximum 30 percent capacity for indoor dine-in restaurants and 20 percent for religious gatherings, mayor Benjamin Magalong, left, declared on Thursday as Covid-19 cases continue to rise. To his right is city administrator Bonifacio dela Pena. Neil Clark Ongchangco / PIO-Baguio

Baguio logged its highest number of new Covid-19 cases as active cases hit an unprecedented 1,751, an eye popping 1,523 cases in just nine days that is 152 percent higher than the same period in April that mayor Benjamin Magalong imposed more restrictions in the city including a total liquor ban.

Magalong on Thursday ordered more temporary restrictions on activities in the city starting this Saturday in response to the increasing Covid-19 cases just as the city logged 249 new cases, breaking the 227 recorded in April 2.

“Based on this weeks’ data as supplied by the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU), our 7-day average for cases per day is now 165 and we expect this to further increase in the next two weeks,” the mayor said.

With the all-time high on Thursday, the city has averaged some 169 new cases a day against a relatively low 69 recoveries a day.

In three occasions, the city logged 200 plus deaths, 205, 226 and 249 on September 5, 8 and yesterday, in that order. There were also three digit cases but on the fourth of the month.

CESU head Dr. Donabel Tubera-Panes said the city will expect more 200 plus cases in the next days as the Delta variant is expected to wreak havoc in a city where its health services is further strained.

The city is also experiencing more deaths as there have been 23 the past nine days and high of six or more than two deaths a day.

In imposing more temporary restrictions, Magalong, also noted that the number of barangays with new cases in the last 14 days has risen to 115 out of 128 or 89.15 percent.

In view of this, the mayor ordered a total ban on the sale and service of liquor and other alcoholic products until September 19.

Magalong also imposed a maximum 30 percent capacity for enclosed or indoor seating in dine-in establishments, while religious gatherings, the permitted attendance will be reduced to 20 percent of the venue capacity and limited to worship activities. The restriction will last until September 26.

Magalong and the local Covid-19 Inter-Agency Task Force imposed the new restrictions after a consultation meeting with the affected sectors like the Baguio Tourism Council (BTC), Department of Tourism – Cordillera, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio (HRAB) and representatives of the affected sectors last September 8.

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