BAGUIO CITY – The city government might open its borders to tourists and non-essential travelers as the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases here continue to drop.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong, in a media interview posted at the Public Information Office (PIO)-Baguio’s official social media page on Tuesday, said there will be an easing of restrictions. "Hopefully, baka next week pwede na natin payagan (probably next week we might start to allow) non-essential travels but only for the fully vaccinated,” he said.

He said they first need to assure that the decrease in cases will continue before they finally decide to allow fully vaccinated tourists to visit the city again and enjoy its natural attractions.

“Kailangan muna na siguraduhin na (we need to ensure that) cases will continue to go down. Ayaw natin makita na magkakaroon na naman ng (we do not want to see that there is a) sudden increase, we might open up too early and it will create a saddle, ayaw natin mangyari yan (we do not want that to happen)” he said.

He said they also need to maintain the decline to give some respite to the health workers.

“We want to give them slack and be able to rest. The hospital situation is also improving,” the mayor said.

Based on the Department of Health’s (DOH) hospital care utilization rate (HCUR) data on Oct. 18, the city recorded an 82.34 percent bed utilization rate, and 73.21 percent mechanical ventilator utilization rate.

The DOH also recorded 98 new cases and 310 recoveries in the city on Monday that further brought the active cases to 1,559.

On October 3, the city had 4,778 cases with hundreds of new cases being recorded daily since September.

“If you remember last week I projected that this week, we will see a decrease, and it will continue to go down,” he said.

The mayor added that the city-managed Temporary Treatment Facilities (TTMF) have also been recording below 50 percent occupancy rate.

Baguio’s several TTMF has about a thousand beds catering to asymptomatic patients.

The mayor attributed the decrease in Covid-19 cases to the community’s cooperation and compliance to health and safety protocols, the cooperation of local governments that compose the LISTT (La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba, and Tublay) to control mobility, and the introduction of additional measures under the heightened general community quarantine classification which included the prohibition of minors and elderly above 65 years old to go out for non-essential reasons, and the restriction on the entry of non-essential travelers to the city.

The mayor said that in case the city opts to open its borders to fully vaccinated tourists, documentation will continue to be required. (PNA)