Baguio targets Oct. 1 reopening for ‘bubble’ tourists — DOT

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(FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 24)— Baguio City has set the target to finally reopen its doors to local tourists starting October 1, according to the Tourism Department.

The City of Pines was supposed to welcome “bubble” tourists from the neighboring Ilocos Region on Tuesday. However, this was pushed back after the summer capital recorded its highest single-day spike of 43 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend.

Speaking to CNN Philippines on Thursday, Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said the rise in coronavirus infections was brought by increased testing protocols in the area.

She also explained authorities wanted to further improve the city’s online management system before rolling out the much-awaited tourism bubble.

“We still have to synchronize (the system)… we want sana mas pulido when we finally open up. But we are targeting October 1, but only for Region 1. And only 200 guests a day,” Puyat said in an interview with The Source.

Puyat added the city will only be opening up five tourist spots, but did not detail further.

Aside from Baguio, the Tourism chief said the government will also look into the possibility of reopening for tourism nearby provinces in the Ilocos Region— La Union, Pangasinan, Ilocos Norte, and Ilocos Sur.

“But of course, we still have COVID, so we want to be very cautious, slow but sure,” Puyat said.

Anti-gen pilot testing kicks off in Baguio

Meanwhile, the Health Department noted that its pilot study on the use of antigen testing for COVID-19 will kick off in Baguio City on October 1.

Under the guidelines of the COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force, the pilot studies will cover interzonal travel in the country considering "cross-border differences in quarantine status and the prevalence level of transmission."

Puyat said the pilot studies will cover around 3,000 individuals, who will be subjected to both antigen and polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests. The simultaneous testing will help see the correlation and check the accuracy of the method, she added.