DOH still discouraging children from going out; says they may get, spread COVID-19

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 02 2020 02:02 PM

DOH still discouraging children from going out; says they may get, spread COVID-19 1
Visitors take photos of the giant Christmas tree at the Times Square Food Plaza at the Araneta City commercial area in Quezon City on December 1, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Department of Health is still discouraging children from going out of their houses even as the Christmas season has started.

This, as some doctors and scientists said minors in areas with low risk of virus transmission may be allowed to go out.

“Ang posisyon namin hindi nagbabago. Hangga’t maaari we discourage that (children going out) dahil mayroon pa ring risk,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said during a DOH briefing on Wednesday.

(Our position has not changed. As much as possible we discourage that because there is still risk.)

Duque said that of the more than 400,000 COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, 3% to 5% are children.

“Hindi sila exempted sa hawaan,” he said.

(They are not exempted from being infected.)

Duque said that even if a child does not get severe COVID-19 symptoms, he or she may still spread the virus to relatives such as their parents and grandparents, which can lead to a higher infection rate for the country.

“We discourage this. 'Wag na pong lumabas ang mga bata (Children should not go out),” he said.

The DOH also said it is not yet allowing face-to-face classes.

Duque pointed out that only those who are 15 to 65 years old can go out while quarantine restrictions are still in place. And if local government units also want to discourage children from going out, they can pass local ordinances. 

While there is still no published study yet in the Philippines, there are papers abroad showing how children can spread COVID-19. A study published in the journal Science showed that in an area in India, a third of COVID-19 cases were children and young adults.

“Although the role of children in transmission has been debated, we identify high prevalence of infection among children who were contacts of cases around their own age,” the researchers of the study said. 

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