Baguio delays opening of tourism 'bubble' due to spike in COVID-19 cases

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 21) — The much-awaited reopening of the summer capital to tourists will be delayed by at least a week after Baguio City recorded its highest single-day spike in COVID-19 cases.

The city was supposed to reopen its "travel bubble" to tourists from Ilocos Region beginning Tuesday. Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong on Monday, however, said while the launching will proceed as scheduled, the opening will be postponed as the city recorded 43 new COVID-19 cases on September 20.

"Actual execution will probably happen next week kasi may inaayos pa ang ibang provinces sa sistema. At the same time, sa Baguio may outbreak dito sa 2 barangays," he said in a media briefing.

[Translation: Execution will probably happen next week because some areas are finalizing their system. It's also because there is an outbreak in two of Baguio's barangays.]

The city listed 43 new COVID-19 cases, forcing Magalong to place barangay Lourdes Subdivision Extension and Ferdinand under a 14-day hard lockdown. Magalong, who also serves as the country's tracing czar, said the cases stemmed after reported mass gatherings.

Meanwhile, Health Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire on Monday said the Health department is monitoring Baguio's use of antigen tests to determine if the COVID-19 testing tool can be adopted for official use following the World Health Organization's recommendation to use this for border travel.