‘Residents must learn to live, do business with COVID-19’
Baguio Mayor Benjamin Ma-galong has maintained the need to open up the city’s economy and learn to live with the Covid-19.
He said the city is determined to open its tourism industry on Sept. 22, and there is no way the city will be held hostage by the Covid-19 crisis.
“We cannot just sit down and lock ourselves from our neighbors. We need to open up. Covid-19 will never go away, not even in the next two, three, or four years. It’s going to stay in our environment, hence we need to coexist with it and we need to learn how to live with it, function with it, and do business with it,” the mayor said Monday.
He said the challenge is huge and daunting, but there is no turning back.
“Let us not go back to what we were. More than anything, we must accept and adapt with the new normal. There’s no turning back from where we started; let us build back Baguio in far better ways,” he said.
Magalong has cited the fact that many people are suffering and experiencing depression due to the setbacks created by the pandemic. Also, based on recent statistics, 11 out of the 15 incidents of suicide recorded in the city are related to economic depression, a number which the mayor said is unprecedented.
As the country’s contact tracing czar and the one who ushered contact tracing as a means of detecting and preventing further virus transmission, Magalong said the city has so far conducted more than 39,000 tests which have resulted in identifying positive cases resulting in their immediate isolation and identifying suspect cases who are immediately subjected to the 14-day quarantine.
As of Sept. 18, the city has a total of 503 cases.
He said the city may have become a model city in its implementation of contact tracing, but it is a fact as well until now that new cases are being recorded.
“Every now and then we get hit by Covid-19 cases, especially as we have been increasing our test capacity. But we need to remain steadfast and forward looking every step of the way,” he said.
Earlier, the mayor along with the City Tourism Office has assured that strict health protocols and precautions are top priorities in its plans of reopening the city’s tourism industry to tourists from Region 1. – Hanna C. Lacsamana