Tourists who planned to spend Holy Week in Boracay cancelled their bookings when a lockdown was imposed on Metro Manila as well as four other neighboring provinces last March 29, Palm Sunday.
A longtime resident remarked: “The island is dead. Only the usual pandemic-tired residents and a handful of tourists remain.”
Prior to lockdown, the island accepted travelers presenting with negative Covid19 test results. From March 1 to 28, tourists numbered 17,183, with the municipal office having an outlook of 20,000 by month’s end.
However, owing to travel restrictions in and out of Manila as well as an observed surge in cases in two zones of Brgy. Balabag, tourists have cancelled flights and hotel bookings.
Balabag village chief Jason Talapian reported that the spike in cases came from an infected guest who tested positive upon returning to Manila. The guest had reportedly attended a party while in Boracay.
Tourists were told to steer clear of 31 hotels within the containment area, while aggressive contact tracing and testing were done. Meanwhile, bars and other establishments were banned from operating. Holy Week masses were allowed, however, but only with 30% seating capacity at the Holy Rosary parish church.
Provincial administrator Selwyn Ibarreta, head of the provincial Covid19 Technical Working Group, said that more contact tracing teams were dispatched to the island.
On March 30, Boracay’s total caseload hit 94, of which 50 were active. Those who tested positive were brought to the provincial isolation center located in Kalibo.