Baguio City extends ban on 'non-essential' travelers until Aug. 15

The Baguio City local government unit (LGU) has extended the suspension of non-essential travels to the so-called summer capital from any point of origin until Aug. 15 amid the threat of the more transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Tourists ride boats at Burnham Park in Baguio City amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Zaldy Comanda/ File photo)

In an advisory released on Friday, Aug. 6, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong said the move to extend the suspension is "appropriate and necessary" to help in assessing the LGU's actions on border management, contact tracing, and patient management in the city's health facilities.

"Due to the higher transmissibility of the Delta variant, we must take necessary steps to mitigate its impact in our community," Magalong explained.

The Baguio City LGU previously announced that it will not accept non-essential travelers or persons not authorized outside of residence (non-APOR) for one week starting July 31. The same guideline will now be implemented until Aug. 15.

With this, only travelers with indispensable purposes will be allowed to enter the city subject to border protocols such as registration to the website, presentation of valid identification card, and negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result valid for 72 hours prior to entry, or a vaccination passport for those who have completed their COVID-19 jabs.

"Once again, I caution everyone to limit travels outside of the city, unless it is absolutely necessary. Let us continue to keep our guards up, and be mindful of standard health protocols at all times," Magalong said.

Meanwhile, the LGU is also ramping up its efforts to increase the city's healthcare capacity by acquiring vital medicines and other medical supplies as preemptive measures against the Delta variant.

"Through all our concerted efforts, our city has always managed to quickly contain surges as they happen, and we will continue to soldier on through our timely initiatives whenever situations like this arise, but let us rule out a worst-case scenario especially since there is high probability that the number of Delta cases will increase if we become complacent," he added.