Health expert backs proposal to suspend policy allowing kids outdoors
MANILA, Philippines — An infectious diseases and vaccine expert on Tuesday backed the recommendation of Metro Manila mayors to suspend the COVID-19 task force policy allowing children outdoors due to the threat of the Delta variant.
Metro Manila mayors asked the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to defer the rule, saying children may become superspreaders since they are not yet included in the vaccination program.
“Unang-una ang mga bata, although medyo mababa ang kaso sa mga bata, but that doesn’t exempt them from getting the infection,” Dr. Rontgene Solante said in a televised briefing.
(First of all, although the case is relatively low for children, that doesn’t exempt them from getting the infection.)
If children are allowed to go outside, Solante explained they might risk transmitting the virus inside their homes, exposing unvaccinated people who are still vulnerable to the disease.
“Ganito ang magiging situation, halimbawa kung meron bata nag-positive nga dahil pinapalabas pag umuuwi yan sa bahay tapos may mga matatanda sa bahay na kasama na hindi pa bakunado pwede niya mahawaan ito,” he explained.
(This is how the situation will be, for example if a child is positive because they are allowed to go out and when they go home and then there are adults in the house who have not been vaccinated, the child can transmit the virus.)
“So that’s the danger there, kung halimbawa ituloy natin ‘to pagpapalabas ng mga bata sa ganitong klase sitwasyon na meron Delta variant, [if for example we continue ‘to let children out in this kind of situation that there is a Delta variant],” he added.
The IATF earlier allowed children aged five years and up to select outdoor facilities in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ.
These outdoor areas include parks, playgrounds, beaches, biking and hiking trails, outdoor tourist sites, and attractions.
As of this writing, the Philippines has three casualties from the 35 Delta variant cases recorded.— Sofia Vertucio, INQUIRER trainee
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