Sagada on lockdown due to COVID-19
Raymund Catindig, Artemio Dumlao (The Philippine Star) - February 14, 2020 - 12:00am

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines  – Another town in the Cordilleras has barred tourists due to the threat posed by the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19).

Sagada Mayor James Pooten Jr. issued an executive order yesterday suspending all eco-tourism activities until further notice. 

Pooten cited the “urgent need” to protect Sagada, a famous tourist destination in Northern Luzon, and its residents from the flu virus.

Only privately owned establishments, such as Sunrise View Hotel and Isang Wow Sunrise Viewdeck, Paog’s Sunset Viewdeck, Sagada Pottery, Sagada Weaving and Masferre’s Photographs are exempted from the ban.

The town is famous for its caves, waterfalls, hanging coffins and sunrise from the Kiltepan viewpoint.

Sagada is the seventh town in the Cordilleras to impose a lockdown on tourists due to COVID-19.

La Trinidad, Kibungan and Atok towns in Benguet and Balbalan, Pasil and Tinglayan in Kalinga are the other areas closed to tourists.

The Panagbenga Festival was moved next month while the Strawberry Festival was cancelled due to COVID-19.

However, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said travel around the country remains safe amid the outbreak of respiratory disease.

”We will talk to the LGU (local government unit) of Sagada and assure them that it is safe to travel around the country,“ Puyat told The STAR.

She said Health Secretary Francisco Duque reiterated that travel around the country remains safe since measures are in place to ensure the safety and well-being of tourists amid a global health emergency.

The Department of Health (DOH) recommended the cancellation of big events or holding of crowd-drawing activities to minimize the risk of contracting COVID-19.

In Pangasinan, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan passed a resolution urging local government officials, including barangay captains, to discourage the holding of gatherings in their areas as a precautionary measure against the disease.

Meanwhile, the number of persons under investigation (PUIs) in Cagayan Valley is down to four after six were discharged from the Cagayan Valley  Medical Center yesterday.

In Central Luzon,   26 of 51 PUIs were sent home. With Ding Cervantes, Eva Visperas, Cesar Ramirez, Catherine Talavera

JAMES POOTEN JR. SAGADA
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