January 26, 2021
President Rodrigo Duterte decided on Monday not to impose easing of quarantine age restrictions, saying he has to protect the people especially after the discovery of new strain of coronavirus disease in the country.
"The restrictions of lifting the age of 10 to 14 age group in MGCQ (modified general community quarantine) areas where 10 to 14 (years old) will be allowed to go out, I am compelled, it has nothing to do with their incompetence. It's just precaution for me because there is a strain discovered in the Cordillera that is very similar to the strain in United Kingdom," Duterte said in his weekly "Talk to the People."
Over 30 individuals with close contacts to 12 patients positive for the UK strain in Bontoc, Mountain Province have been confirmed infected with COVID-19.
Of the 34 COVID-19 cases, 28 were still up for sequencing while the other six were negative for UK variant.
"Just to be sure and in our desire to protect our people, I am forced to reimpose the 10 to 14 (years old), not at this time. It's a sacrifice for the parents and the children, it would limit their movements," Duterte said.
He cited the warning of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the new COVID-19 variant might be deadlier than the original strain.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases approved last Thursday a resolution relaxing the quarantine age restrictions to below 10 years old from current below 15 years old to 65 years old in MGCQ areas while encouraging the local government units in areas under general community quarantine to follow the same starting February 1.
The easing of the age-based restrictions was to help stimulate the economy further.
But the Department of Health and other health experts have raised concern over decision to relax age restrictions amid the discovery of UK COVID-19 variant in the country. Celerina Monte/DMS
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