The Department of Health (DOH) did not welcome the proposal to allow children inside shopping malls, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Wednesday.
The health department maintained that children below 14 years old and elderly over 66 should not be allowed to go outside to prevent COVID-19 spread.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) proposed allowing children seven to 14 years old inside malls as long as their parents or guardians accompany them.
However, DILG said local government units would still to issue ordinances before implementing the measure.
“Ang posisyon namin, hindi po nagbabago. We discourage that kasi meron pa ring risk,” Duque said at an online forum.
(Our position does not change. We discourage that because there is still a risk.)
“Sa siyam na buwan na karanasan natin sa COVID-19, three to five percent po ng total infected cases natin ay sa mga bata nangyari. Hindi po sila exempted sa hawaan,” Duque added.
(In our nine months of experience with COVID-19, three to five percent of our total infected cases occurred in children. They are not exempted from the virus.)
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said Wednesday Metro Manila mayors have no final decision yet if the minors would be allowed to visits malls as the capital region remained under general community quarantine.
Allowing children inside malls not okay – DOH
In an interview on Unang Balita, Año said the mayors are still discussing the matter. He added the mayors would still discuss the issue with the Philippine Pediatric Society and other health experts before making a decision.
Likewise, the DOH chief clarified that the DOH is not banning Christmas celebrations but urging to limit them to immediate families.
“Hindi po ipinagbabawal ng DOH ang holiday celebration. Gusto lang po natin ito limitahan sa immediate family members. Hindi na po muna [kasali ang] mga kamag-anak na galing sa ibang lugar,” Duque said.
(The DOH does not prohibit holiday celebrations. We just want to limit it to immediate family members. No more [including] relatives from other places.)
“Kasi sa siyam na buwan na may pandemya, ang nakakahawa po ay iyong mga walang sintomas o kung meron man, mild lang,” Duque added.