Children in modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) areas can only leave their homes if accompanied by their parents, the government said Sunday, as some sectors are worried about the relaxing of age-based movement restrictions starting next month.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has lowered the age restriction for people who can step out of their homes from 15 years old to ten years old to reopen the pandemic-hit economy. The relaxed movement protocol, which is contained in Resolution No. 95, will apply to areas under the most lenient MGCQ and will take effect starting February 1. The health department, however, has said it may seek the deferment of the easing of age restriction, citing the presence of the new COVID-19 variant in the Philippines.
Cabinet Secretary and IATF co-chairperson Karlo Nograles clarified that children cannot go out of their homes without the supervision of their parents.
“We will release a new clarificatory resolution stating that children should be accompanied by their parents so they can be supervised,” Nograles told radio station dzBB.
Nograles said compared with other countries, the Philippines is stricter in terms of the movement of children.
“Based on the survey we conducted on what other countries are doing, we are the most restrictive when it comes to children. We have already relaxed the age restriction. From 18 to 60 years old, we expanded it (the age of people who are allowed to go out) to 15 to 65 years old and we did not detect any surge (in infections) then,” Nograles said.
Nograles said individuals who are ten years old and above understand the importance of observing safety measures like wearing of face masks and face shields, physical distancing, and frequent handwashing.
“Because we saw that after the Christmas holiday, our cases per day are somewhat manageable, we decided to lower the age restriction to ten,” the cabinet secretary said.
Majority of the provinces and cities in the Philippines are under MGCQ, the last quarantine category before the “new normal” classification. Only Metro Manila, Santiago City, Batangas, Tacloban City, Iligan City, Lanao del Sur, Davao City and Davao del Norte are under general community quarantine.
President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to announce the quarantine classification for February before the end of the month. — via Albert Rovic Tan / AdChoiceTV News