MANILA - All minors in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) will be allowed to go out and shop in malls for the coming holidays as long as the are accompanied by their parents, Interior Sec. Eduardo Año said Monday.
"Para sa Kapaskuhan, doon po sa pwede ng gradual expansion ng mga age group para makalabas, ang mga minors, basta accompanied ng magulang, ay papayagang makalabas at makapunta sa mall," Año said in a public briefing aired Monday night.
(For the Christmas holidays, regarding the gradual expansion of the age groups allowed to go out, all minors, as long as they're accompanied by their parents, will be allowed to go out and shop at malls.)
"Ito po ay pagtitibayin sa mga ordinansa ng ating mga NCR (National Capital Region) mayors, sa lugar po ng GCQ," he added.
(This will be laid out by ordinances by our NCR mayors, areas under GCQ.)
Año meanwhile stressed the importance of continuing practice of COVID-19 safety protocols, such as physical distancing and avoiding large gatherings amid the pandemic.
"Hindi papayagan ang Christmas party, hindi din papayagan ang Christmas caroling, wala pong mass gathering," he said.
(We won't allow Christmas parties, we also won't allow Christmas caroling. No mass gathering.)
Año said traditional family reunions are considered large gatherings.
"Katulad po ng sinabi ni (Health) Sec. Duque, immediate family na lang ang mag-celebrate ng Christmas together," he said.
(Like what Health Sec. Duque said, just celebrate Christmas together with your immediate family.)
An infectious disease expert earlier urged Filipinos to celebrate this year’s Christmas festivities virtually and avoid large gatherings to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
Dr. Edsel Salvana, a member of the technical advisory group for the Department of Health (DOH), expressed concern that close contact with family members, friends, and relatives may increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
“We do urge people as much as possible not to mix households. Just do virtual Christmas if you can. Konti na lang. The vaccines are coming,” Salvana told ANC.
As the yuletide season nears, the Philippines' total number of COVID-19 cases breached earlier Monday the 430,000 mark after reporting 1,773 additional infections.
As of posting, the total infections in the country stands at 431,630. Of the total, 24,580 are active cases.
The DOH's tally of COVID-related deaths went up to 8,392 fatalities by 19, and the total number of recoveries soared to 398,658 recoveries by 44.