DOT: Malay govât launches probe into alleged âsuper-spreaderâ party in Boracay
This February 2021 photo shows tourists in Boracay.
Malay Municipal Tourism Office/Facebook

DOT: Malay gov’t launches probe into alleged ‘super-spreader’ party in Boracay

Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - April 6, 2021 - 5:46pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism on Tuesday praised the Municipal Government of Malay for initiating an investigation into the party blamed for recent spike in COVID-19 cases on the world-famous island Boracay.

The DOT said the Malay government issued a Memorandum to Conduct an Investigation to the concerned business establishments after a reported party was subject for concern of the island health officers.

In a virtual press conference, Dr. Athena Magdamit, chief of the Municipal Health Office of Malay claimed that the surge in COVID-19 infections have been traced to a male worker who attended a party at one of the island’s establishments.

The Manila Bulletin also reported that the male worker had close contact with a tourist from Metro Manila who stayed in Boracay from March 10 to 13. The tourist later tested positive for COVID-19.

“From that event (party), it was passed on to others. They were exposed silently,” Magdamit was quoted as saying, citing that they did not disclose that they exhibited symptoms.

As of April 6, Malay, Aklan where Boracay is located, has a total of 153 COVID-19 cases. Of which, 81 are active cases, 71 are recoveries while there was only one recorded death.

A total of 41 active COVID-19 cases are from Barangay Balabag while 34 active cases are from Barangay Manoc-Manoc. Both of these villages are often visited by tourists.

Last March 31, Malay Mayor Frolibar Bautista placed the entire Barangay Balabag under the enhanced community quarantine while the Zones 1 and 7 of Barangay Manoc-Manoc are under surgical lockdown for 14 days.

Prior to this on March 28, Bautista also prohibited the operation of bars on the island.

It also banned the following temporarily:

  1. Food parks with entertainment and live shows and bands
  2. Restaurants with live bands
  3. Organized parties

The directive is pursuant to Section 2, Letter F of Executive Order No. 037, series of 2020 of the provincial government of Aklan.

“We are asking for your understanding as the Local Government Unit of Malay takes the necessary initiative in flattening the COVID-19 curve in the community,” the advisory posted by the LGU read.

Boracay logged 17,400 visitors for the month of March, based on the data from the Malay Tourism Office. This was the highest since it reopened to the public in October 2020.

A total of 9,913 are from the National Capital Region.

'Shared responsibility'

Meanwhile, the DOT, a member of the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force, vowed to be in close coordination with local officials and tourism establishments on the island “to ensure a stricter implementation of health and safety protocols that will prevent mass gatherings or "super-spreader" events to take place on the island.

It once against advised would-be visitors of the island to observe minimum health protocols such as wearing of masks and face shields, practice frequent and proper handwashing, and ensure physical distancing at all times.

“DOT reiterates that the safety of tourism destinations such as Boracay is a shared responsibility among the government, community members, businesses and visitors,” it said.

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