In early 2020, COVID-19 took the entire world by storm and quickly crept into the Philippines. The Department of Health officially reported the first Coronavirus Disease 2019 in the Philippines in late January of this year. The pandemic created fear amongst Filipinos and tourists alike as the virus proved to be increasingly contagious and in many cases deadly. By March, the Philippine Government announced a total lockdown within the country to prevent the spread of the virus. For us, this meant minimal movement, even within small communities like Siargao. We were ordered to stay home.
Eventually, the World Health Organization declared that the virus had become a global pandemic. People started to panic and as a result, almost every country in the world implemented a country-wide lockdown. Travels were suspended, establishments were closed, people sent home, hospitals cramped up, and the economy entered into a long phase of suffering. The virus took a great toll on the tourism industry. In Siargao, tourists were stranded on the island while nobody could get in or out of the island. All we could do was stay put.
We in Siargao consider ourselves to be very lucky. Thanks to the early announcement of the lockdown in the Philippines, the virus has not yet penetrated the island. At this moment Siargao is safe, Siargaonons are safe and the tourists are safe. Though we still need to comply with the lockdown regulations to ensure the safety of the entire island, the Government has allowed us to ease out of the more stringent measures. Slowly, we are getting back on our feet and transitioning to Siargao's New Normal.
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