The city’s incident management team reported this week three new coronavirus cases they described as “community transmission” or incidents where the virus has spread beyond a simple transfer of the illness from one known person to another.

We saw from experience that the management of local transmission cases is relatively easy and straightforward, with isolation and treatment as the basic strategy. Community transmission is complex and tedious because the virus is moving freely and is not confined in only one community.

The new cases reported in Puerto Princesa City this week is only the second time since the pandemic that health authorities raised that red flag or warning about community transmission. In the first instance sometime in July, they placed most of Barangay Santa Monica under layers of quarantine even while the rest of the city was already up and about breathing an air of normalcy.

The new cases, according to health officials, may have emanated from a party gathering in a resort facility where people had mingled freely as such is already allowed under the present relaxed quarantine restrictions.

The manner Puerto Princesa responds to an imminent coronavirus threat has evolved since the first covid death was reported in Barangay Tanabag, an incident when the city mayor himself saw it of utmost importance to make a public announcement in the middle of the night and everyone was on the news. Nowadays, it is but a casual thing to read about having close to 50 active cases in the city.

Elsewhere, it had to take the US president to contract the virus before he himself understood the importance of wearing a mask and social distancing.

The reality is that the virus has not left and it is not choosing who to infect and when to go out of control.

As our own community tries to shift to normalcy and back-to-business mode, it is striking to note that the warning signals of a vicious resurgence of COVID-19 are emanating from large social gatherings that could otherwise be avoided. And in the absence of what used to be a strict and conservative regulatory protocol, the norm nowadays is simply the exercise of individual responsibility and prudence. Fate help us.

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