A health expert on Wednesday said it might not look like it, but minors posed a public-health risk if they turned out to be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus 2019.
Dr. Jocelyn Alonzo Eusebio, president of the Philippine Pedriatric Society, brought up the topic amid a debate whether to allow those aged 17 years old or younger to be at malls.
"Maaaring hindi nga symptomatic kasi marami nang obserbasyon na hindi nga malala ang COVID-19 infections sa mga bata, pero p'wede naman silang maging carriers," Eusebio said in a Teleradyo interview.
"At kung sila ay umuwi sa bahay at mayroon silang kasamahan sa bahay na lolo at lola na immuno-compromised, na mga kamag-anak, talagang sila po ay makakakuha ng impeksyon na iyon."
(They might be asymptomatic since there are observations that COVID-19 infections among children aren't severe, but they might turn out to be carriers. And if they have relatives at home who are immuno-compromised like their grandparents, there might be transmissions.)
Eusebio said the problem with asymptomatic carriers is they are hard to trace."Hindi maitatala na mayroon din sila. Hindi rin sila nate-test," she said.
(They are not recorded cases, so they won't even be tested.)
Metro Manila mayors on Wednesday unanimously voted not to allow minors outside of their homes, including going to malls, despite eased lockdown restrictions, because of the lingering threat of the COVID-19, according to the MMDA.
The decision was based on the recommendation made by health experts.
Eusebio said she hoped it would become a nationwide policy although it was up to local government officials.
"Totoo namang sobrang inip na inip na po ang ating mga kabataan, dahil children are supposed to be active going around, kaso confined nga sila sa loob ng kanilang bahay so understandable ang mga ganoong emotions," she said.
"[Pero] lagi nating isaisip the benefit will outweigh the risk. 'Yan po ang laging isaisip namin lalo na ang mga magulang."