MANILA (UPDATE) - Parañaque City mayor Edwin Olivarez said Sunday he was against easing the age restriction of persons allowed outside homes to 10 years old to revive the economy as the COVID-19 pandemic persists.
Olivarez, head of the Metro Manila Council, said mayors would meet with medical experts on Monday and Tuesday to discuss the proposal.
"Sa akin pong personal, dito po sa lungsod ng Parañaque, with consultation ng local task force, mag-stick po muna tayo sa age bracket at 'wag po muna natin paluwagin hanggang 10 years old," he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
(In my personal opinion, here in Parañaque City, we would like to stick with the age bracket and not expand it to 10 years old and above, upon consultation with the local task force.)
"Alam naman nating superspreader itong mga bata. Sila po ay asymptomatic at makakahawa pag-uwi sa kanilang mga bahay."
(We know children can become superspreaders. They are asymptomatic and may bring the virus to their homes.)
Children are "preoccupied" with blended learning, he added when asked about their mental health.
Parents should talk to their children and monitor their mental health at home, said Dr. Cynthia Cuayo-Juico, fellow of the Philippine Pediatric Society.
"Kung halimbawa, nasa bahay tayo, ang mga magulang naman nandun din. So, it’s about time you should be talking to your children, na hindi lang gadget ang ginagawa nila," she told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
(For example, if parents are also at home, it’s about time you should be talking to your children, so that not all they do is use their gadgets.)
Children following minimum health standards in public is not guaranteed, she added, noting that children can be "spreaders" of the coronavirus.
"Susmaryosep! Yun ang sagot ko... Pupunta sila ng mall, ng restaurant, fine. Gagastos sila, pero 'pagka 'yang mga 'yan di tayo nakakasiguro na magkakaroon ng proper distancing, proper wearing of masks," she said.
(They will go to malls, restaurants, fine. They will spend, but we can't ensure that there will be proper distancing, proper wearing of masks.)
"Ang sintomas sa mga bata, 'di mo alam. May na-admit na ako na 2 pasyente na may LBM, may rashes. Akala mo dengue. It turned out to be COVID pala. Lahat ngayon ng nagfi-fever at rashes, kabahan ka na. Ipa-RT-PCR mo na, and true enough, nagpa-positive."
(We're not sure of COVID symptoms on children. I've admitted 2 patients with LBM, rashes. We thought it was dengue, but it turned out to be COVID. Everyone who has fever and rashes should undergo RT-CPR test, and true enough they turn out positive.)
There is also less transmission of other diseases when children are home, Cuayo-Juico said.
"Di siya ganun kadami kasi nakakulong sila (It's few because children are at home). The hospitals right now have very few admissions of pedia, and most of them ay may cancer, leukemia, (appendicitis)," she said.
The Department of Health earlier said it was eyeing advising against the easing of age restriction after 3 Filipino minors were infected with the more contagious coronavirus variant first found in the UK.
"Pero sa ngayon na lumalabas na itong variant ay nandito, nakaapekto rin sa 3 kabataan dito sa mga kaso sa ngayon, ang amin pong iniisip, baka sakali ay makapagrekomenda tayo na maaari muna tayong hindi magpatupad ng pagpapalabas ng mga bata to prevent more infections,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.
(Now that the variant is here and has infected 3 children already, we are thinking that maybe we could recommend not allowing more children to go out to prevent more infections.)
Under existing IATF rules, those aged 10 to 65 are allowed to leave their homes in MGCQ areas beginning Feb. 1. But for areas under GCQ, such as Metro Manila, only those aged 15-65 are permitted to leave their residence.
The Philippines has logged 511,679 confirmed COVID-19 cases, as of Saturday, including 33,603 active infections, 10,190 deaths, and 467,886 recoveries.
The government hopes to begin inoculating priority sectors of its population against the new coronavirus next month.