The OCTA Research Group has flagged Puerto Princesa as an “area of concern” due to the surge of COVID-19 infections in the city.

The research team, in its bulletin issued on Saturday, noted a 78% spike in COVID-19 cases in the city, which is significantly higher compared to the infection rate in Metro Manila that has gone down to -27%.

“The following are considered areas of concern due to a rise in new Covid-19 cases: Cagayan de Oro in Misamis Oriental, Puerto Princesa in Palawan, and Bacolod in Negros Occidental,” said OCTA in its bulletin.

In Puerto Princesa, OCTA said the daily cases were up by 78%, and its attack rate at 38.17. Local hospitals were also filled at 62% occupancy rate, while the intensive care unit (ICU) beds were at 55%.

Lawyer Norman Yap, spokesperson of the City IATF, when sought for a reaction, acknowledged that Puerto Princesa had been an area of concern since March 29 when the National IATF issued Resolution No. 107-A, identifying the city as one of the areas requiring special attention.

“We have been addressing and will continue to address this concern. [We implemented] localized ECQ and hard lockdown last month, the continued liquor ban and curfew, and the extended travel ban,” Yap said.

Yap added that the local government has also rolled out policy interventions by way of two executive orders, including the imposition of workplace regulations and establishing the COVID-19 Sheriff program that is expected to reinforce the strict implementation of local health protocols.

“We are also setting up additional quarantine facilities. Our citywide quarantine classification has also been escalated to GCQ. All the same, we appeal to all residents to stay at home and to go out only when it is absolutely necessary,” Yap added.

As of May 8, the city had 533 active COVID-19 cases and  in Puerto Princesa, from a total of 1,188 confirmed cases, with 632 recoveries and 23 deaths.