Cebu opens to domestic tourists

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Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia (FILE PHOTO)

Cebu City (CNN Philippines, February 22) — Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia has issued an executive order which allows local tourists to visit the province provided certain conditions are met.

According to EO No. 12 Series of 2021, visitors are required to present a valid medical certificate obtained seven days prior to their arrival, and proof of pre-booking at a resort or hotel that is duly accredited by the Cebu Provincial Task Force.

Visitors will also need to pass screening at their points of departure and arrival.

"The local government unit of destination may issue reasonable regulations which shall be submitted to and approved by the governor. Thereafter, said regulations shall be submitted to the Department of the Interior and Local Government," the EO added.

The EO takes effect immediately.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health-Central Visayas (DOH-7) understands the move by the Cebu provincial government to drop the swab test requirement for domestic tourists to steadily stimulate the local economy.

DOH-7 Spokesperson Dr. Mary Jean Loreche emphasized the protocols have not been really relaxed with the inclusion of some requirements upon arrival.

Loreche believes Cebu will not be under enhanced community quarantine, unlike in June 2020, due to aggressive tracing, testing, and isolation efforts and enough hospital beds to cover infected patients. She added 85% of the total cases in the province and its cities are asymptomatic.

"The more we test, the more cases we find. That is our basis to show that we handled the infections here well," Loreche told CNN Philippines' The Final Word on Wednesday.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Cebu has a total of 10,296 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 429 deaths and 8,371 recoveries.

CNN Philippines' Cebu correspondent Dale Israel contributed to this report.