Gov’t mulls review of age restrictions by end-January or February — official
MANILA, Philippines — The government may consider reevaluating the age restrictions for those allowed to go outside their homes amid the Covid-19 pandemic by end of January or February, the country’s National Action Plan Against COVID-19 deputy chief implementer Vince Dizon said Wednesday.
During the Kapihan sa Manila Bay media forum, Dizon, also the country’s testing czar, said health authorities are still evaluating the effects of the holiday activities in December to the Covid-19 cases being recorded in January this year.
“We are continuously discussing the restrictions and I think when our medical advisers come to a point when they are comfortable that it will not cause a tremendous risk to the general population, then I think those restrictions on age will be slowly eased as well,” he said.
“But right now itong January, hinihintay pa po kasi natin ‘yung effects ng Pasko at New Year and major events tulad ng Traslacion, etc. Pero tingin ko po by end of January or February it will be reevaluated and we will see if we can ease some more depending on what happens to our cases,” he said.
(But for January, we are still monitoring the effects of Christmas and New Year and other major events like Traslacion. But I think by end of January of February, the age restriction will be reevaluated and we will see if we can ease the age restriction depending on what happens to our cases.)
Dizon explained that easing the age restrictions will be based on “everybody’s input” and of the recommendation of health experts at the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
He reiterated that the government also considers the effects of prolonged community quarantine restrictions to the economy in making decisions for Covid-19 protocols.
“Again up to now it is really a balance between health and economy, but as you have seen since the third quarter of last year, tuloy-tuloy po ang ating slowly but surely na pagbubukas. In fact because of that nga po lalo na noong holidays, tumataas ang cases natin but still we have not reverted to a stricter level of quarantine even if we are seeing some increase in the number,” he said.
(Again up to now, it is really a balance between health and economy, but as you have seen in the third quarter of last year, we continuously make a slowly but surely reopening of the economy. In fact because of that especially during the holidays, the number of cases increased but still we have not reverted to a stricter level of quarantine even if we are seeing some increase in the number.)
During the Laging Handa briefing last Friday, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez expressed support for the gradual easing of age restrictions possibly down to 10 years old to help the country’s economy recover.
This was in agreement with the call of Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua to let more children and families out of their homes to shop and spend while still observing safety protocols.
The IATF-EID only allows persons aged 15 to 65 to go out of their homes during the pandemic.
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