July 19, 2024

Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the city is not ready to transition to the new normal.

“Until the situation in the National Capital Region, regions 3, and 4 normalizes, I don’t think Baguio City can transition to the new normal.”

“Despite the decreasing Covid-19 cases in these areas especially in NCR, I am still not confident in opening our local economy to places still hounded by infections.”

He said there are still Covid-19 infections being reported in Baguio’s neighboring localities.

Contact tracing showed that most of those found with Covid-19 came in contact with our residents.

“So, even if those infected are not from Baguio, the city is still heavily affected,” the mayor said.

Earlier during a meeting with department heads, Magalong said before Baguio can transition to the new normal, it has to have a robust health infrastructure, quarantine and isolation facilities, faithful adherence of residents to health protocols, and a digitalized emergency response system.

Magalong said the city needs to have its own molecular laboratory to process increased Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction tests being conducted locally.

This, he added, would establish a quicker response time in identifying health cases consistent with the Covid-19 cases and patient contact tracing.

Magalong acknowledged public-private partnership efforts in the establishment of quarantine and isolation facilities.

The city operates a triage facility at the St. Vincent Gym along Naguilian Road.

In coordination with the Department of Health and local private hospitals, it also opened up the old Sto. Niño Hospital in Padre Burgos barangay to cater to the Covid-19 patients.

Magalong said the city’s transition to the new normal likewise hinges on faithful adherence of residents to health protocols.

He however lamented, there are still barangays being locked down for violating facemask and physical distancing policies.

Meantime, the mayor revealed the “Smart City” project merging the city’s emergency response system with high-tech information technology is being fast-tracked.

The project likewise seeks to establish safer, faster and more reliable non-contact transactions.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) recommends if local government units can transition into more relaxed quarantine measures or the so-called new normal.

Magalong however said, he will advise the IATF-EID to stall possible easing of the city into the new normal until the four conditions he identified are fully satisfied.

“The modified general community quarantine in Baguio may still take about two more weeks or maybe even longer,” the mayor said. – Gaby Keith