MANILA (2nd UPDATE)—Metro Manila mayors and the Metro Manila Development Authority again want to bar children at least 5 years old from being outdoors as the Delta COVID-19 variant threatens the country.
In a taped briefing on Monday, MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos told the country's inter-agency task force on COVID-19 that the proposal was arrived at unanimously by National Capital Region mayors.
"Sila ay posible po maging superspreaders (They are potential superspreaders)," Abalos said, citing children have not been immunized.
In an interview Tuesday on ABS-CBN's Teleradyo, MMC chairman Parañaque mayor Edwin Olivarez added: "Alam naman po natin ito pong mga bata ang mga superspreaders, asymptomatic yan paguwi sa bahay yayakap sa kanilang lolo, nanay nila, napakahirap po noon."
(We know children can be super spreaders, they're asymptomatic and when they get home, they will hug their grandfather, their mother, that will be difficult.)
The IATF's decision on the matter is expected within a day, according to Olivarez.
"Tinitingnan pa ho natin ang ating preparedness para sa variant na ito, preparedness ng ating healthcare facilities," he added.
(We're still assessing the preparedness of our healthcare facilities for this variant.)
The mayors had also decided to prohibit children aged 5 and above outdoors again following the detection of 3 Delta variant cases in the capital region, Abalos said.
"Nakita naman po natin na 3 kaso nasa NCR na po. Sa amin pong talaan ay talaga pong tumaas ang mga kaso sa NCR at ito ay inamin naman po ni (Health) Secretary (Francisco) Duque kagabi," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(We have seen that there are already 3 Delta variant cases in the NCR. Our data shows that COVID-19 cases in NCR increased, even Secretary Duque admitted it last night.)
Sixteen people had been found with the Delta variant in the Philippines, including 5 who had returned from abroad. The other 11 were locally acquired cases, the health department said on Friday.
Three Filipinos have died from the strain, which has caused catastrophic surges in COVID-19 cases worldwide, including India and Indonesia.
Earlier this month, the IATF allowed minors to head outside in areas under modified general and general community quarantine (except in areas with heightened restrictions), including parks, playgrounds, outdoor tourist sites, among others.