PUERTO PRINCESA - Puerto Princesa City, the provincial capital of Palawan, will cancel all domestic air travel and suspend classes on all levels starting this week, the city government said Friday.
Domestic travel to and from Puerto Princesa City will be canceled from March 15 to April 14, 2020 to curb to possible entry of the carriers of the COVID-19 in the island, according to a document signed by Puerto Princesa Mayor Lucilo Bayron.
"There is a need to suspend all domestic travel to and from Puerto Princesa to provide an enabling environment for the observance of proper social distancing," Bayron's memo read.
The same reason was given for the suspension of classes from March 14 to 21, 2020.
Puerto Princesa, home to the UNESCO World Heritage Subterranean River National Park, is a top tourist destination in the Philippines.
Health officials prescribe social distancing or avoiding close contact with others to help curb the rise in the number of cases of COVID-19, which can be transmitted through contact with bodily fluid from infected persons.
The city government will conduct an evaluation next week to determine if there is a need to extend the suspension of classes, said City Information Officer Richard Ligad.
As of March 13 noon, there are no COVID-19 cases in Palawan, but check points still be mounted in the city's borders.
The cancellation of flights to Puerto Princesa was announced a day after President Rodrigo Duterte said Metro Manila will be placed on lockdown starting on March 15, 2020 to arrest the spread of the virus.
The Philippines was placed under a state of health emergency earlier this week. As of March 12, At least 52 people in the country tested positive for COVID-19. Five have died from the disease, 2 recovered, while other patients are still being monitored in hospitals.
The World Health Organization described the COVID-19 as a pandemic after it killed nearly 5,000 people and infected 110,000 others globally.
- report from Arlie Cabrestante Ching, ABS-CBN News