BAGUIO City recorded the highest number of coronavirus infections on Thursday, September 24, with 52 cases and four recoveries.

Clustering of cases was noted in Sto. Niño Slaughter compound after gatherings took place.

As of Friday, September 25, there were 13 barangays on lockdown to thwart the spread of the infection.

Despite the spike in Covid-19 cases, the Summer Capital pushed through with the launching of the tourism bubble, with Department of Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo Puyat gracing the event.

The launch of the Ridge and Reef Travel Corridor with stakeholders on Tuesday, September 22, signaled the opening of bookings for tourists wanting to visit the Baguio-La Union-Pangasinan and Ilocos areas in a gradual opening of borders.

Registration via the Baguio Visitors Information and Travel Assistance (Vista) platform opened for visitors who will only be allowed into the city by October.

Rosario Vergeire, Department of Health (DOH) undersecretary and spokesperson, told SunStar Baguio that careful planning in the gradual opening of tourism must be made, taking into consideration the health and welfare of the community.

Vergeire said the launch of the opening of tourism of Baguio City to neighboring areas must be studied before implemented, stressing caution and adherence to health standards.

"When we do these kinds of things, we must study it very carefully," said Vergeire, adding that starting slow and small is important to be able to assess if implementation can go on.

The recent increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in the city has pushed Mayor Benjamin Magalong to recommend the continued imposition of the "hammer and dance" strategy to stem the surging tide of infections.

An expected bumper crop of 43 new Covid-19 cases was recorded in the Summer Capital last Sunday and another 52 new cases on September 24 due to the ongoing aggressive contact tracing and expanded testing activities especially in its vulnerable sectors.

The strategy comes in two phases: the "hammer" aimed at controlling the drastic spread of the virus by confinement or enhanced community quarantine and "dance" where heavy measures like lockdowns are replaced with measures to achieve the same goals but without the cost.

Introduced by international author Tomas Pueyo, the "hammer and dance" concept also stresses the need for every country to focus on extensive gathering of data to provide context and insight on how to control the disease.

Lockdowns on areas where infections are recorded are imposed by the city and health protocols are stringently enforced in a bid to prevent the disease from spreading.

This is aside from the constant reminders of city and health officials for the public to strictly adhere to health practices like frequent washing of hands, proper wearing of face masks and face shields, and physical distancing.

The mayor extolled the importance of adopting the virtue of "disiplina muna" in one's self, family and community in hurdling the challenges of the worldwide health crisis.

"Discipline coupled with cooperation will go a long way in ensuring our chances of rising out of this Covid-19 pandemic more resilient and gung-ho as ever," Magalong said. (With a report from Baguio City Public Information Office)