MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he is recalling an order lifting restrictions on children aged 10 to 14 years old in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
This, after the the Inter-Agency Task Force earlier allowed minors to go out of their homes in areas under MGCQ.
According to Duterte, he is compelled to reimpose the restrictions on minors due to the detection of the new COVID-19 variant in upland northern Luzon.
"Ang sa akin is as a precaution because there is a strain discovered in the Cordillera that is very similar sa strain dito sa United Kingdom. How it got there is beyond me. Hindi ko talaga [alam] bakit dumating doon," he said.
(For me it is a precaution because there is a strain discovered in the Cordillera that is very similar sa strain dito sa United Kingdom. How it got there is beyond me. I don't know how it got there.)
"Balik ho muna kayo sa bahay muna, and besides, 'yung 10 years old to 14, itong mga mas matanda na, mahirap i-manage pero itong mga 10, 11, 12, puwede na sila sa TV. They can glue their attention sa TV the whole day," Duterte added.
(You should still stay at home, and besides, those aged 10 to 14, those who are older are more difficult to manage but those who are 10, 11, 12, they can just watch TV. They can glue their attention to the TV the whole day.)
Duterte said he wants to protect the public from the new COVID-19 variant, which is more transmissible.
"Just to be sure and in a desire to protect our people, napilitan akong i-reimpose 'yung 10 to 14," Duterte said.
(Just to be sure and in a desire to protect our people, I am forced to reimpose the restrictions on minors aged 10 to 14.)
On Friday, Malacañang said the IATF is allowing children between 10 to 14 to go out in MGCQ areas.
Previously, only those aged 15 to 65 were authorized to go out, with the exception of work, getting necessities and vacationing in certain areas.
In a separate statement, Roque said the relaxed age curbs would cover MGCQ areas "beginning February 1, 2021."
Local governments in GCQ areas, the third strictest of 4 lockdown levels, are urged to also allow 10- to 14-year-old children to go out, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said.
A public health expert last November warned that children could become COVID-19 superspreaders if they are allowed to go out.