MANILA (UPDATE)—Metro Manila mayors will impose restrictions on movement on minors to prevent another surge of COVID-19 infections as the capital region shifted to Alert Level 3, the chairman of the Metro Manila Council said Monday.
MMC chairman and Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez said children, who are less likely to become critically ill from COVID-19 but can be "superspreaders" of the virus, had yet to receive the vaccines.
"Alam naman po natin 'yung atin pong mga minor hindi pa ho sila bakunado. So, limited lang po ang paggalaw ng ating mga kabataan dito sa Alert Level 3," he told TeleRadyo.
(We all know that minors are not yet vaccinated. So, their movement should be limited under Alert Level 3.)
The government previously barred children from leaving their homes as some experts said they might become "superspreaders."
Metro Manila, home to around 13.5 million people, is under Alert Level 3 until the end of the month to revive the economy devastated by the pandemic.
The Philippines only began last week its pilot pediatric vaccination in 8 select hospitals in Metro Manila.
According to the Department of Health, over 1,500 children with comorbidities or underlying health conditions have received the anti-virus jab.
Those with autoimmune disorders, neurologic conditions, metabolic and endocrine conditions, cardiovascular disease, obesity, HIV infection, tuberculosis, chronic respiratory disease, renal disorders and hepatobiliary are prioritized for the vaccination.
The inoculation program will expand to 17 hospitals in the capital region beginning Oct. 22, the DOH said.
The country's pandemic task force had said that those aged 17 and below may go out to buy food and medicine, visit a doctor or dentist, exercise and work for jobs that allow their age.
Olivarez stressed that children were still banned in malls and from dine-in services.
"'Yun lang essential muna habang tinitingnan natin ang pagbubukas ng ekonomiya na dahan-dahan. 'Pag binigla po natin, ito po 'yung kinatatakutan ng atin pong mga health worker na magkaroon ulit tayo ng surge," he added.
(Only essential activities while we assess the opening up of economy. If we do it immediately, our health workers fear of another surge.)
Olivarez reminded business establishment to strictly follow health protocols, such as a 30 percent maximum of dine-in services for fully vaccinated individuals.
San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora had said they would release a resolution clarifying the guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force on allowing children outside their homes.
The Philippines on Sunday reported 6,913 new COVID-19 cases, raising the country's tally to 2,720,368.
To date, there are over 23.9 million people who have received complete vaccination in the country. This is 31.09 percent of the government's target of 77 million people.