Virus surge dims hope of reopening Camiguin to tourists soon
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—The island destination of Camiguin continues to be off-limits to tourists as health authorities battle a surge of new COVID-19 infections for over a week now.
Camiguin Gov. Jurdin Jesus Romualdo, in a local radio interview here, said the province would first focus on containing the spread of the virus before looking at options of further opening up tourism to outsiders. Romualdo said it might take up to a month to effectively contain the infections.
The province was supposed to reopen to tourists toward May but was prevented by a surge of COVID-19 cases in Northern Mindanao region, its immediate market for visitors.
At that time, the province already registered less than 10 active cases of COVID-19. By June 29, Camiguin only had eight active cases, six through local transmission and two residents who returned from abroad, records from the Department of Health (DOH) showed.
But infections suddenly rose by 46 on June 30 and more cases were added in the following days. As of July 7, the DOH had counted 203 active cases in Camiguin.
Romualdo said many infections were traced among vendors and traders in public markets, as confirmed by results of swab tests.
He also lamented the complacency of locals, noting that many have disregarded minimum health standards, especially the wearing of face shields and face masks while in public areas.
Entry into the province would require a negative result of a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test.
According to Romualdo, the bulk of infections is in the capital town of Mambajao.
The Mambajao local government has allocated P32 million for purchase of equipment, building of isolation facilities and spending for contact tracing to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Of the budget, some P13 million was allocated for providing relief goods for families who will be affected by localized lockdowns.
—RYAN D. ROSAURO
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