Puerto Princesa City authorities will continue to push for higher risk classification of the city to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) if the local situation continues to deteriorate.

This, after the national Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), released on Tuesday the new classifications nationwide with Puerto Princesa City added to the category of general community quarantine (GCQ). Citing the ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases, city authorities on Wednesday formally sought a city-wide MECQ classification.

“We will treat that new classification as the National IATF’s decision on our appeal for MECQ filed yesterday. They granted an escalation but only one step higher — GCQ,”  City IATF spokesperson Atty. Norman Yap told Palawan News in a text message.

“Since we have already submitted to the National IATF our current and pertinent data, we may seek further escalation later — when we have new facts and our situation gets worse, but hopefully, that will not be the case,” he stated.

The city has yet to announce official guidelines under GCQ status. Previous local protocol guidelines included a total travel ban on the land, sea, and air travel into the city, more establishment closures, and more workplace reduction measures.

While there have been a large number of recoveries, new cases are still recorded every day by the City Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (CESU) despite current efforts to bring the number of active cases down. City hospitals are still struggling to accommodate COVID-19 patients because of their limited capacity. According to a hospital source, the Ospital ng Palawan (ONP) will be adding one more isolation ward by converting two rooms in the pediatric ward to address the current crisis. (with reports from Patricia Laririt, Loren Jane Tumalac, Romar Miranda, and Celesta Anna R. Formoso)