A joint resolution of concurrence of the regional Inter-Agency Task Force (RIATF) and Regional Task Force (RTF) to the city government. | Photo courtesy of the City Information Office

The regional Inter-Agency Task Force (RIATF) has approved the request of Puerto Princesa City Government to temporarily suspend all inbound travels by air and sea of returning residents, Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APORs), Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs) coming from Metro Manila beginning March 29 to April 4.

In a letter dated March 28 addressed to city mayor Lucilo Bayron, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) regional director and Regional Interagency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease chairperson Wilhelm Suyko stated that the RIATF and the Regional Task Force Against COVID-19 (RTF) has concurred with the city government’s letter request last March 25 for the suspension of inbound travels to the city from NCR Plus amidst sudden increase in local transmission cases of COVID-19 through Joint Resolution No. 01, series of 2021.

“Now therefore, be it resolved, as it is hereby resolved, that the RIATF and RTF concur with the request of Puerto Princesa City on the temporary suspension of all incoming flights and sea voyages from NCR Plus transporting returning residents, APORs, ROFs, and OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) beginning March 28 to April 4,” the resolution read.

A copy of the resolution was also forwarded to the National IATF-EID for information and enforcement.

The city government issued the travel ban citing a string of infections that originated from an APOR who arrived in the city from Metro Manila. It stated that out of 23 newly recorded cases in the past few days, 19 were identified close contacts of the APOR.

Aside from Puerto Princesa, the municipalities of Aborlan, Coron, and Bataraza also recorded new cases of local transmission this week. On Wednesday, Bataraza recorded its first two cases, while Coron recorded one new case after battling its own spate of local transmission last year. Aborlan also recorded its first COVID-19 death on Sunday, a 70-year-old male foreigner whose family and house help also tested positive for the disease. Palawan now has a total of seven COVID-19 deaths.

All forms of travel out of the Greater Manila area – composed of Metro Manila, Rizal, Cavite, Bulacan, and Laguna – are suspended beginning Monday (March 29) to April 4 due to the sudden surge of COVID-19 cases in the areas, which peaked at 9,838 new cases in a single day on March 26. In the past week, the number of new cases continued to rise beginning March 19 when more than 7,000 cases were recorded in a single day.