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Inbound air and sea travel to Puerto Princesa City are once more suspended until the end of General Community Quarantine (GCQ) after the city government’s request to extend the travel ban was approved by the regional Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).

The travel ban, which expired on Thursday, May 6, has been renewed and will be in effect until May 31. The same exemptions on national government authorized persons outside residence (APORs) and returning overseas workers still apply.

The regional IATF stated its approval of the Puerto Princesa City government’s request to extend the inbound travel ban on Friday evening in a concurrence letter addressed to city administrator Atty. Arnel Pedrosa.

According to local IATF spokesperson Atty. Norman Yap, the same exemptions from previous travel bans are still in place.

“For national government APORs, kailangan pa ring mag-quarantine upon arrival for ten days at their own expense, and for returning overseas Filipinos, depende rin certificate from the Bureau of Quarantine (BOC) na mape-present nila,” Yapsaid in a phone interview Friday.

The travel ban was requested as a mitigating measure to stop the ongoing surge of COVID-19 in the city, and also the rest of Palawan, since Puerto Princesa is the province’s busiest entry point. Inbound travel to the city has since been prohibited in mid-March, when the earliest signs of the surge began to manifest. The ban also came about after areas in the National Capital Region and its surrounding provinces experienced large spikes in COVID-19 cases as well, along with confirmed cases of new variants from patients who traveled from countries abroad.

Puerto Princesa and Palawan continue to grapple with the spread of  the highly infectious disease that has resulted in already 30 deaths (confirmed through RT-PCR swab tests) since the beginning of the pandemic, while more than 600 patients (as of May 7) all over the province await their recoveries. Puerto Princesa, despite being under GCQ, is close to breaching the 500th mark for active cases and continues to report high numbers of new cases each day.

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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.