COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Palawan, albeit with fewer daily counts, despite the temporary suspension of inbound flights and ferries.

Formerly COVID-free town Agutaya recorded its first positive case on Friday (August 14), a 22-year-old female returning local.

Inbound flights to the Puerto Princesa City International Airport (PPCIA) were canceled August 4 after Metro Manila reverted to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) brought about by health workers’ call for tighter restrictions in the metro.

Cases continued to rise this week (August 10-15), but notably slower compared to last week’s increase cases.

On Monday (August 10), Brooke’s Point recorded its first new cases after being COVID-free since July 23 after its fifth case was reported to have recovered. The two patients are a couple who arrived in the town on July 24 via AirAsia from Metro Manila. Both patients are 42 years old, according to a statement from the Sangguniang Bayan of Brooke’s Point.

On the same day, the town of Roxas saw a spike of cases when four returning locals tested positive. The new cases are two females aged 50 and 59, and two males aged 36 and 21, according to the local health office. The town also reported one new case on August 13, a 40-year-old male returning local.

Roxas’ August 13 patient is also a possible local transmission case. The patient was reported to have breached several health protocols by attending mass gatherings, drinking with friends, and playing basketball.

“Pumunta [siya] sa lamay, nakipag-inuman, nagsimba [ng] walang face mask at nakipaglaro ng basketball. Sana din sa mga religious groups, kapag may mga gathering dapat naka-face mask and face shield pa din at maintain ang social distancing,” said Dr. Leo Salvino, Roxas Municipal Health Officer (MHO).

After being COVID-free after its lone case was reported to have recovered in early August, Aborlan also recorded one new positive case on Monday, a 32-year-old female overseas worker. The new case is also the first to be recorded in the town, since the first case was physically in a Puerto Princesa City facility when they tested positive in late July.

“Mayroon tayong Patient No. 2 sa Aborlan, Palawan. Siya ay female, balikbayan, at siya ay 32 years old. Nasa quarantine facility na siya ngayon. This is the first patient na hina-handle natin kasi ang unang patient ay naka-isolate sa Puerto Princesa City,” said Dr. Fidel Salazar, Aborlan MHO.

Dumaran recorded another positive case on August 13, a 32-year-old female overseas worker. The town was previously COVID-free after its lone case recovered on July 29.

Taytay recorded one new positive case on August 13, a 60-year-old returnee who was in close contact with the town’s other positive cases.

“Siya ay close contact noong apat na confirmed case noong August 6. Sila ay galing Occidental Mindoro thru NCR na dumating sa atin via 2Go noong July 19,” said a statement from the Taytay local government.

Cuyo still holds its spot as the town with the highest number of active and recorded cases, with three new cases recorded this week last August 10 and 14. Currently, there are 14 active cases in the town, second only to Puerto Princesa City with 18 active cases.

The city recorded five new cases on August 11, 12, and 13. The patients are a mixture of returning locals, overseas works, and authorized persons outside of residence (APORs).

Coron reported four new cases on August 11 and 14. The patients are a 24-year-old female returnee, a 41-year-old male APOR, a 23-year-old male APOR, and a 39-year-old female APOR.

The town of San Vicente is reportedly COVID-free after two of its active cases were declared recovered on Friday (August 14).

Towns with still no recorded cases are Balabac, Kalayaan group of islands, Magsaysay, Linapacan, Narra, and Cagayancillo.

(With reports from Romar Miranda, Jane Tumalac, Ruth Rodriguez, and Patricia Laririt)