It's been four months into the COVID-19 quarantine and urban centers struggle to contain rising infections. However, there are some areas in the Philippines that remain free of the virus, and two of them could be on your bucket list—Batanes with its rolling terrain and Aurora, known for surfing and heritage. Two others made it to the list: Quirino province in the northeast and the remote Dinagat Islands.
Department of Health (DOH) Director Beverly Ho said unless the areas are geographically isolated, they need to strictly enforce containment protocols. Inter-province travel, however, still has some restrictions. Some areas require virus screening or quarantines. For now, the government only allows essential travel.
"Bukod po sa pagiging isolated dahil isla po ang iba sa mga probinsyang ito, ipinagmamalaki po namin ang balitang ito at inaanyayahan na patuloy po nating ipagpatuloy ang mga measures na kanilang nasimulan," she said in a virtual briefing.
(Aside from some of these provinces being isolated because they are islands, we are proud of this news and we encourage them to continue the implementation of the measures they've already started.)
While being isolated geographically prevented the spread of the novel coronavirus in those areas, Ho said the efforts of the local authorities also contributed to this feat. People coming home from other areas are screened, she said.
"Basically, talagang heightened po yung vigilance nila at patuloy po yung kanilang pagkampanya to do the minimum health standards sa kanilang mga lugar," she added.
(Basically, they have heightened vigilance and they continue to campaign for minimum health standards.)
As of July 24, the Philippines has recorded 76,444 COVID-19 cases with 24,502 recoveries and 1,879 casualties.