Bataraza town in southern Palawan has joined the list of municipalities with active COVID-19 cases, after two of its returning residents tested positive for the pandemic disease.

Dr. Maria Rebethia Acala, spokesperson of the municipal inter-agency task force (MIATF), told Palawan News on Saturday afternoon that the two newly-recorded COVID-19 patients are male LSIs who are both in their 40s.

The patients were already nearing the end of their mandatory 14-day quarantine period when they reacted to a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) on June 23, which prompted their swab sample extractions for the confirmatory tests conducted by the Ospital ng Palawan (ONP) RT-PCR GeneXpert laboratory.

Bataraza becomes the 4th municipality to be impacted by the government’s move to repatriate stranded residents from Manila, following the towns of Sofronio Espanola, Coron and Busuanga. Puerto Princesa City remains having the most number of active COVID-19 cases, at 10 persons as of Saturday.

“Parehong male, mga 40s. Actually, nag-14th day sila noong June 23 pero na-test namin sila June 24 so nag-positive sila kahapon (June 26), lumabas ang result,” Dr. Acala said.

In a separate press statement, Dr. Acala confirmed that both patients are “in good health condition without signs and symptoms of the virus”.

The two male LSIs remained to be isolated in a municipal facility as the contact tracing is being undertaken. They arrived in Palawan on June 8, and the other LSIs who were part of their group would soon be subjected to swab testing.

There are now 28 confirmed COVID-19 patients in Palawan province, with four recoveries, one casualty, and 23 active cases — 10 in Puerto Princesa, three in Coron, five in Sofronio Española, three in Busuanga, and two in Bataraza.

(With reports from Ruth Rodriguez and Celeste Anna Formoso)

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is a desk editor and senior reporter of Palawan News. He covers politics, environment, tourism, justice, and sports. In his free time, he enjoys long walks with his dog, Bayani.