Puerto Princesa City local officials released a new set of quarantine guidelines following the national government’s decision to place the city under General Community Quarantine (GCQ), which is a step higher than the previous Modified GCQ (MGCQ) status.

The city will be under GCQ beginning May 1 to 31, unless COVID-19 cases in the city continue to rise despite stricter protocols. The city government may appeal for reclassification to Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) if this happens.

In a live briefing Friday, April 30, local Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) spokesperson Atty. Norman Yap discussed the GCQ guidelines that all city residents must follow to prevent further spreading of COVID-19 in the city. 

Yap explained that gatherings such as birthday parties, reunions, wedding receptions, conferences, conventions, and other similar events will be strictly prohibited. The only gatherings that will be allowed are for the procurement for health and government services.

“Ang mga allowed lang muna na gatherings ay tulad ng mga pipila para sa vaccinations, pila para kumuha ng drug test bilang requirement sa trabaho, o di kaya pila para sa pagkuha ng mga government services katulad ng pag-renew ng business permit sa City Hall,” Yap said.

Religious gatherings, funerals, and wedding ceremonies will also be allowed but at only 30% venue capacity. For services at the Puerto Princesa City Memorial Park, only 10 people will be allowed to attend.

Pillion riding, or back riding, will also be prohibited under GCQ, but public transportation will still be allowed. Cargo and logistics will also be allowed to freely travel within the city.

Government offices will be fully operational under GCQ, but only 30% of an office’s workforce can report for work. Accommodations with proper acreditation can also operate, especially if they will be used as quarantine facilites.

Non-contact sports – biking, jogging, golf, tennis – are allowed, but there should be no spectators or sharing of equipment.

The following establishments are also ordered to remain closed under GCQ – entertainment venues (bars, karaoke, clubs), recreational venues (billiard halls, Internet cafes), casinos and gambling establishments, amusement parks, and outdoor sports courts. Those not listed here, such as restaurants, may operate but with reduced capacity.

While inbound air and sea travels remain suspended for Puerto Princesa, land travel will remain unhampered because under the omnibus guidelines of the national IATF, leisure travel is allowed under GCQ.

Active cases in Puerto Princesa reach all-time high

Active cases in the city are nearing the 300 mark after 53 out 63 samples taken from residents tested positive for COVID-19.

The City Epidemiology Surveillance Unit’s (CESU) latest tally as of the evening of April 30, just before hard lockdown ends in five urban barangays (San Miguel, San Pedro, San Manuel, San Jose, and Sta. Monica), reports another high number of new COVID-19 cases that brought active cases to 294.

This is the highest number of active cases so far where all patients are neither returning locals or authorized persons outside residence.

City Incident Management Team (IMT) chief said that Puerto Princesa is “truly in a critical stage”, with exhausted hospitals and facilities early in the month.

The city will be under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) beginning Saturday, May 1. However, city officials may appeal for a higher classification if the numbers continue to rise.