PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has recalled a government resolution allowing children as young as 10 years old to go out in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
Duterte issued the recall order on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021 just three days after Malacañang announced the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases had further eased age-based stay-at-home restrictions.
The IATF Jan. 21 resolution would allow individuals from 10 to 65 years old to step out of their homes in MGCQ areas beginning Feb. 1 in a bid to boost consumer spending and spur the economy.
At present, only those who are 15 to 65 years old may go out. The rest, as well as those who are immunocompromised and pregnant, should stay home.
In his weekly public address on the Covid-19 situation, Duterte said he recalled the order as a precautionary measure.
“Itong 10, 11, 12 puwede na ‘yan sila sa TV (Those who are 10, 11, 12 can do with TV). They can glue their attention sa TV the whole day,” Duterte said.
“Mine is just a precaution. Takot lang ako kasi itong bagong strain (I’m just afraid because this new strain) strikes the young children,” he added.
He was referring to the new Sars-CoV-2 variant, which has been detected in 17 patients in the country.
Experts said children can catch Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, but only a few develop symptoms.
Duterte again urged the public to religiously follow health protocols to contain Covid-19.
“For the sake of humanity, ‘yung kapwa mo tao, bayan mo (your fellowmen, your country) kindly obey the protocols,” the President said.
The Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH 7) welcomed Duterte’s decision.
“With the UK variant proven to be present in the country, although identified in certain areas in Luzon as yet, there must be a doubling of our efforts in the strict adherence to the public health standards,” said DOH 7 spokesperson Mary Jean Loreche in a message to SunStar Cebu.
The head of Cebu City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Councilor Joel Garganera also agreed with the President’s decision.
“The President was a mayor. He knows the ground,” Garganera said.
He added that if only Cebu City managed to maintain its single-digit additional Covid-19 cases daily instead of the current double-digit figures, then “perhaps” the City could ease age restrictions.
The EOC of Mandaue City also supports Duterte’s directive.
August Lizer Malate, head of Mandaue’s EOC, told SunStar Cebu this was a “good move” considering that Covid-19 cases are going up.
Malate said there must be a balance between health safety and economic stability using concrete scientific data. (Sunstar Philippines / with reports from WBS, KFD)