Eighteen persons who had been directly exposed to the COVID-19 positive patient from Barangay Tanabag who died recently have tested negative from the deadly coronavirus, according to the City Health Office.

Dr. Dean Palanca, city incident commander, said in a Facebook live post of the city government they had just received the test results from the RT-PCR laboratories in Manilla.

“Ngayong hapon, bumalik na ang resulta ng ginawa nating exam sa labing walong individuals. Ito ay kinuha namin sa mga tao na exposed or linked sa “patient 169” na nag-positibo sa COVID-19,” Palanca said.

However, the regional tracker issued by the Department of Health (DOH) Center for Health Development (CHD) only reports 13 negative test results as of 3 p.m., Friday (May 1).

The results of the tests prompted the CHO to recommended the lifting of the “extreme enhanced community quarantine (ECQ)” in Barangay Tanabag, where a 63-year-old COVID-positive patient resided.

“Ang pagpapatupad ng extreme ECQ sa Brgy. Tanabag ay nire-recommend namin na ipahinto na. Ngunit mahigpit pa rin ang pagpapatupad ng pag-gamit ng facemask at ‘yong mahigpit na pagpapatupad na physical distancing sa buong Puerto Princesa kasama ang Brgy. Tanabag,” Palanca added.

Richard Ligad, city information officer (CIO), stressed however that the medical expert’s recommendation was merely a suggestion that is yet to be acted upon.

“Recommendation ni Dr. Dean Palanca, pero recommendation pa lang ‘yon. Hihintayin pa natin kasi magkakaroon pa ng resolution ‘yan. Not necessarily na tinanggal na. Recommendation niya pa lang ‘yon,” Ligad told Palawan News Friday night.

Among the 18 negative results were the deceased suspect COVID-19 patients including both female 39-year-old and 74-year-old city residents.

The province of Palawan is still waiting for 16 results from the Regional Institute for Tropical Medicine.

The DOH-CHD has recorded a total of 58 suspect COVID-19 patients in the island province, 25 of whom were admitted in different hospitals while 33 were under strict home quarantine as of 3 p.m., Friday (May 1). (with reports from Celeste Anna Formoso)