Camiguin reopens to tourists
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — The island province of Camiguin, a major tourist destination in Northern Mindanao, is reopening to tourists after closing its borders to leisure travelers since the coronavirus pandemic struck in a bid to control the spread of COVID-19.
On Thursday, Gov. Jurdin Jesus Romualdo signed Executive Order No. 114 setting guidelines for the entry of leisure travelers starting on Oct. 25, in time for the kickoff of the annual Lanzones Festival.
The province was supposed to reopen last summer but had to forego it due to the surge of infections in Northern Mindanao, its immediate market for tourists.
“It is now possible to open the province to travel for tourism, leisure, and recreation,” said Romualdo.
Romualdo noted that the province’s population now has a higher degree of protection against the virus with the vaccination program “proceeding at a steady pace” and that local healthcare facilities “have proven that they have the capability to contain the spread of the virus and successfully treat COVID-19 cases.”
As of October 14, Camiguin recorded eight new COVID-19 infections, bringing total active cases to 63, all due to local transmission of the virus.
Under Romualdo’s new order, only fully vaccinated tourists will be allowed entry into Camiguin, and they will be required to register with the CleanCamiguinQR, have a prior booking with an accommodation facility, and present a negative result of a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.
One is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after taking the final COVID-19 vaccine shot.
Travelers can bring in their children but those who are over 18 years old need to be vaccinated. Children who are younger than 5 years old need not undergo the RT-PCR test.
Tourists who have stayed in the province for five days will be subjected to rapid antigen test, at their expense, and those found to have symptoms will have to undergo RT-PCR test. Those found with the virus will be quarantined in a local facility.
Part of the preparations for Camiguin’s reopening is the vaccination drive among its tourism workers.
Romualdo’s order has required tourism establishments to have all their workers fully vaccinated, even encouraging them to also ensure that the families of their workers are inoculated.
Romualdo also required vendors of shops and stalls to take COVID-19 vaccine shots so they can be accredited to operate.
Last week, Romualdo said the province targets to accommodate 800 tourists a day. —RYAN D. ROSAURO
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