Palawan reported three new COVID-19 cases on Monday, raising the combined tally of the province and city to 34 confirmed cases. All new cases were returning stranded residents.

Dr. Dean Palanca, City Incident Management Team (IMT) commander, in an advisory aired live on Facebook Wednesday, said that Puerto Princesa’s new patient is a locally stranded returnee who arrived in the city on Sunday (June 28) aboard 2Go Shipping Vessel.

“Isang bagong kaso ng COVID-19, siya ay 44 years old na female, siya ay isang locally stranded individual (LSI). Dumating sila noong June 28 sa 2Go na barko. Siya ay positibo talaga sa COVID-19 nasa isolation facility siya para mag-undergo ng two weeks na pagpapagaling,” Palanca said.

In the southern town of Bataraza, mayor Abraham Ibba told Palawan News in a phone interview that two new male locally stranded returnees, a 34-year-old and a 42-year-old, tested positive for the new coronavirus disease. They were close contacts of the previously reported cases in this town during their trip home.

“This morning nakuha namin ang result. May dalawang confirmed [cases]. Ka-roommate sila ng dalawang naunang nag-positive. Kasabay sila dumating dito noong June 9. Lalaki rin, ‘yong isa 34-years-old, ‘yong isa 42-years-old,” Ibba said.

Flights and ferries for stranded individuals returning to Palawan would continue according to Provincial Information Officer (PIO) Winston Arzaga.

This, after presidential spokesperson Harry Roque disclosed that Palawan was not among the list of areas or provinces with a moratorium on the return of locally stranded individuals (LSIs).

“Siguro hindi tayo kasali dahil mababa lang ang incidence natin ng COVID-19,” Arzaga told the Palawan News on Monday.

“If the national government believes we can still manage and handle arrivals, then our health infrastructure is enough. Because they [national government] will not simply make a decision without checking the actual situation,” Arzaga added.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Area 4, which handles the Puerto Princesa International Airport (PPIA), in a separate statement also announced that no airlines have cancelled their flights going to and from the city.

The Palawan province has recorded a total of 34 confirmed COVID-19 cases so far, with four recoveries, one casualty, and 29 active cases—13 in Puerto Princesa, three are in Coron, six are in Sofronio Española, three are in Busuanga, and four are in Bataraza, as of 12 p.m., Wednesday (July 1).

(With reports from Celeste Anna Formoso, Ruth Rodriguez, and Patricia Laririt)