President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday recalled a government decision last week allowing minors to go out in modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) areas, citing dangers posed by a new COVID-19 variant already detected in the country.
In the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID)) last week, minors aged 10 and up will be allowed in public places starting February 1. President Duterte said he is taking back the earlier decision as a precautionary measure to protect young people.
“So balik ho kayo sa bahay muna and besides ‘yung 10 years old to 14… Itong medyo matanda na mahirap itong i-manage but itong 10, 11, 12 puwede na ‘yan sila sa TV. They can glue their attention sa TV the whole day,” President Duterte said during his weekly public address Monday night.
“Pasensiya na po kayo. Mine is just a precaution. Wala itong bisa… Takot lang ako kasi itong bagong strain strikes the young children,” he added.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 compared to adults, but with the new strain’s characteristics, everyone is vulnerable.
Experts say children are superspreaders, manifesting no symptoms although they carry the virus.
The restriction may not be welcomed by the parents and children, but the President said sacrifices have to be made to protect public health particularly as the country awaits a vaccine rollout.
And with the presence of the UK variant in the Philippines, the President made a renewed appeal to the public to strictly follow the government-mandated health protocols.
“I’d like to end by saying that the only salvation, actually, for those who have not been sickened with COVID-19 and pending the rollout of the vaccine is really that you follow the protocol of — imposed by government,” he said.
“Pagka sinunod ninyo ‘yan, then you have great chances of not getting it or at least when you get it, there’s already the bakuna, then it will somehow mitigate, give you the relief,” he added.
Also, during the meeting with the President, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. reported that the government may proceed with the possible early rollout with vaccines coming from COVAX.
He previously reported that the government is also set to receive its first delivery of COVID-19 vaccine from Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac this February.
The Department of Health (DOH) has reported 1,581 additional coronavirus infections on Monday, bringing the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country to 514,996.
There were 475,422 recoveries and 10,292 fatalities. PND