The Metro Manila Council and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) have agreed to allow individuals aged 15 years old and above to go out after a meeting on Wednesday night, Corinne Catibayan’s reported on Saksi.
Some pediatric and infectious disease experts are skeptical of allowing children aged 15 to 17 to go out.
Metro Manila mayors recommended earlier to IATF to allow minors 15 to 17 years old along with those aged 18 to 65 to go out.
For Philippine Pediatric Society fellow Dr. Cynthia Juico, children can still be considered “super spreaders.”
This is because their common symptoms of COVID-19 are usually coughs, colds, fever, and diarrhea.
In addition, he said, children need guidance to comply with minimum health standards.
“Ang mga bata kasi hindi nagsusuot ng mask, tinatanggal nila. 2 years and below bawal na bawal. Ang mga teenager naman, mag-uumpisa na naman silang magsasama-sama. Miss na nila iyon eh. Sino ba ang di nakaka-miss? Pero ang hirap. Ang pagkakasakit,” said Juico.
Under the current pandemic protocols, people between the ages of 15 and 65 can leave the Philippines.
NCR mayors, IATF agree to allow 15 years old and above to go out
This does not include Metro Manila, where local governments agreed to impose an 18-year to 65-year age limit in October.
For Rontgene Solante, an infectious disease expert, it is “too early” to consider the release of children 15 to 17.
Meanwhile, the recommendation of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to place the entire country under modified general community quarantine or MGCQ was not included in the deliberation of IATF and the Metro Manila mayors.
According to acting NEDA chief Karl Chua, more than P1 trillion was lost to the country’s economy by 2020 due to lockdown protocols implemented to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
He said this is equivalent to P2.8 billion per day.
In addition, he said, the number of recorded cases can be controlled and there are mechanisms that are supposed to continue to control it.
NEDA also wants to gradually ease restrictions on public transport.