The city Incident Management Team (IMT) will not appeal for a higher quarantine classification for the meantime and is urging Puerto Princesa residents to refrain from mass gatherings to prevent more COVID-19 infections.

When the National Inter-Agency Task Force released new quarantine classifications on Thursday, Puerto Princesa was still placed under general community quarantine (GCQ). City officials previously requested either an upgrade to GCQ with Heightened Restrictions or GCQ Alert Level 4.

IMT chief Dr. Dean Palanca said Saturday, October 2, that with the rising cases and quarantine facilities filling up, adhering to minimum health protocols is the best everyone can do at the moment.

Latest breakdown of active laboratory-tested positive cases in Puerto Princesa from the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU). (Photo from the Facebook page of the City Information Office of Puerto Princesa )

“Minsan out of our hands ang concurrence at approval. Ang isa sa mga nakikita natin is kung papayag ba ang regional IATF, pero medyo mahirap gawin ‘yon kasi nag-decide na ang national IATF na GCQ pa rin tayo,” he said.

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“Ipapatupad pa rin natin kung ano ang ginagawa natin for the past weeks. ‘Yon lang, maghihigpit na ang IATF sa mga social gatherings. Kailangan na limited to 10 persons lang, at may approval sa IMT. Iwasan na muna natin ang mga get-togethers, kahit mga birthday, huwag na muna,” he added.

The city IATF will meet again next week to discuss if they will push again for a higher quarantine classification, according to Palanca.

Palanca added that they are also waiting for nine samples sent to the Philippine Genome Center to determine whether the present surge is being caused by the highly infectious Delta variant. So far, the IMT has sent almost 80 samples to the Genome Center, but only a select few were screened because of the center’s requirements.

“Nagsabi nga lang ang Philippine Genome Center two weeks ago na huwag muna magpadala, kasi hindi na raw nila kaya. Almost one month na namin sinend ang mga samples, sana may balita rin kami soon,” he added.

As of Saturday at the 2 PM tally, Puerto Princesa has a total of 904 active COVID-19 cases, according to the City Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (CESU). Palanca explained that they now have a total of 10 hotels converted into quarantine facilities.

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is a senior reporter for Palawan News who covers politics, education, environment, tourism, and human interest stories. She loves watching Netflix, reading literary fiction, and listens to serial fiction podcasts. Her favorite color is blue.