The Department of Health (DOH) is planning to recommend to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to suspend the easing of age restrictions for people who can leave their homes amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
In a Laging Handa briefing on Saturday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said three out of the 16 new cases of the B.1.1.7 SARS-Cov-2 (United Kingdom) variant of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) reported in the country on Friday night were aged 18 and below.
“Sa ngayon na lumalabas na itong variant ay nandito, amin pong iniisip na baka sakali na makapagrekomenda tayo na maaari muna nating hindi ipagpatupad ito pong paglabas ng mga bata (With the new variant detected in the country, we are thinking of recommending to maybe suspend the easing of age requirement that will allow children to go out), so that we can prevent more infections,” Vergeire said.
However, she added that they will still heed the decision of the IATF-EID regarding the matter.
Vergeire, however, said the DOH gave a positive recommendation to the IATF decision to ease the age requirement that will be allowed to go out to help the country’s economy to recover.
She said DOH supports the IATF in its goal to balance health and the economy amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Kung magdidesisyon man ang IATF na binabalanse natin ang ekonomiya natin at saka ang ating kalusugan, kailangan nating isipin na ang IATF naman ay may mga safeguards na pinapatupad, katulad nga po ng minimum public health standards (If the IATF decides to balance health and economy, we must be assured that they placed proper safeguards such as the minimum public health standards),” she said.
Vergeire said if only all people strictly comply with the imposed minimum public health safety standards, the spread of Covid-19 would be mitigated.
She, however, advised people to stay at home as much as possible in the wake of reports that the UK Covid-19 variant is more contagious.
She said they will discuss the issue in the next IATF meeting.
Vergeire called on parents and adults to ensure that children are protected whenever they would bring them in public places.
“Kung wala naman ho tayo talagang kailangang ipaglabas o hindi naman kailangang talagang dalhin ang bata sa labas, iwasan na po muna natin ito sa ngayon, dahil nga po nakikita natin na medyo tumataas ang ating mga kaso (Let us avoid bringing children out of the house for now especially if we do not need to go out or bring them outside because as we can see, cases are going up) and the variants have been detected already in some parts of the country,” she said.
Beginning February 1, people aged 10 years to 65 years in areas under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) can leave their homes for non-essential activities, such as going to malls.
The possible easing of age restrictions in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) is up to the local governments. (PNA)