The local government unit (LGU) of Malay in Aklan province has launched an investigation on a party held in Boracay that allegedly caused a surge in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases there.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) said Malay officials issued a memorandum to conduct an investigation to the concerned business establishment where the “super spreader” event took place.
Local officials claimed that the party was the “root cause” of the recent spike in the number of COVID-19 infections on Boracay Island, which led to the total lockdown of one of its three barangays.
Dr. Athena Magdamit, chief of the Malay Municipal Health Office, earlier disclosed in a virtual press briefing that a male worker in Boracay had close contact with a tourist from Metro Manila who was on the island from March 10 to 13. Days after leaving, the tourist tested positive for COVID-19.
The male worker, on the other hand, attended a party at one of Boracay’s bars. He would later exhibit symptoms but Magdamit said he already passed on the infection to others.
Based on the latest health bulletin of Malay LGU, there are a total of 81 active COVID-19 cases in Boracay as of April 6 — most of which are in Barangays Manocmanoc and Balabag with 38 and 35 cases, respectively.
Balabag was placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the strictest lockdown protocol; while Zones 1 and 7 of Barangay Manocmanoc were placed under surgical lockdown on April 1 to curb the rising cases.
For the part of the DOT, it said that it will continue its close coordination with local officials and tourism establishments in Boracay to “ensure a stricter implementation of health and safety protocols that will prevent mass gatherings or super spreader events to take place on the island.”
The DOT also reiterated that the safety of tourism destinations such as Boracay is a “shared responsibility” among the government, community members, businesses, and visitors.
Despite the incident, the agency said responsible tourists are still welcome to enjoy the island as long as they strictly observe minimum health protocols such as the wearing face masks and face shields, frequent and proper handwashing, and physical distancing at all times.