Expert backs return of stay-home curb for children


Posted at Jul 20 2021 03:02 PM | Updated as of Jul 20 2021 04:37 PM

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An infectious disease expert on Tuesday backed calls for the return of stay-home orders for children in areas under the strictest lockdown levels, as the Philippines detected more cases of the highly transmissible Delta COVID-19 variant. 

The government last week allowed children aged 5 and up to go outdoors with adults in areas under general community quarantine and modified GCQ. 

Children could catch COVID-19 in public spaces and pass the respiratory disease to unvaccinated members of their household, said Dr. Rontgene Solante, a member of the government’s vaccine expert panel. 

"Although mababa ang kaso sa mga bata (although the number of cases among children is low), that doesn’t exempt them from getting the infection," he said in a televised public briefing. 

Interior Undersecretary Epimaco Densing said health protocols are observed so far by children and their companions in public areas. 

"Nakaka-sigurado po tayo, based sa feedback sa baba, na naka-minimum public health standard ang ating mga kabataan," the official said in the same briefing. 

(We are sure, based on feedback from the ground, that our youth follow the minimum public health standard.)

"Pero again, inuulit natin, dahil dito sa banta ng Delta variant, isa ito sa mga polisiya na maaaring pag-aralan… kung patuloy pa natin itong i-implement," he added. 

(But again, we repeat that because of the threat of the Delta variant, this is one of the policies that could be studied, whether or not we will continue implementing this.) 

The inter-agency task force leading the country's COVID-19 response will meet on Thursday about measures to arrest the spread of the Delta variant.

The health department has detected 16 cases of the Delta variant in the country. 

The Philippines in total has tallied some 1.5 million coronavirus infections, the second highest in Southeast Asia.