Aerial view of Boracay Island (Photo courtesy of Aklan-Our province)

MANILA – Shangri-La's Boracay Resort and Spa temporarily suspended its operations after some of its staff tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

The luxury resort said it will not accept any new check-ins from January 22 to January 28.

"All affected guests will be contacted personally, and we will assist them with alternative arrangements. During this time, we will conduct further deep cleaning and disinfection of the resort," it said in a statement sent on Saturday.

A Business Mirror article dated January 23 disclosed that the closure order was issued by Aklan's local government unit. It also cited sources who said that the concerned staff "were put back to work" instead of undergoing quarantine while waiting for their test results.

The resort stressed that it fully complied with local government guidelines "with regards to next steps after our colleagues undergo RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) testing."

"After being notified of the test results, affected colleagues were all placed in self-isolation in accordance with guidelines from the authorities and we are supporting them in any way we can during this period," it said.

It said the resort staff were “asymptomatic and did not exhibit any outward symptoms or reported feeling unwell on the days they were on duty.”

“Comprehensive contact tracing has been conducted and as a precautionary measure, close contacts of the affected colleagues have also been asked to self-isolate until further notice," it added.

In a separate statement, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the Department of Tourism (DOT) will assist in the relocation of guests to other establishments or isolation facilities should there be any close contact with affected tourism workers.

"The DOT encourages the prompt treatment of affected workers and backs the temporary closure of establishments concerned for general disinfection procedures as part of the health and safety protocols," she said.

The DOT chief also called on all enterprises in Boracay to practice responsible tourism to effectively manage the Covid-19 situation in the area.

"Warnings, suspension or closure await those who violate established rules and regulations," she said. (PNA)