Malacañang has advised local government units (LGUs) to listen to medical professionals when it comes to children’s safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his public address Monday night, President Rodrigo Duterte urged LGUs to limit the entry of kids into shopping malls, saying it would be better to restrict minors below 12 years old from going to malls.
On Tuesday, acting Palace spokesman Karlo Nograles said the call ofthe President is for the LGUs to consider passing ordinances dependingon their circumstances, based on science and what the experts say.
Nograles said the LGUs’ decision would depend on the COVID-19 situation within their respective jurisdictions.
The Department of Health (DOH) also called on parents to be mindful about bringing kids outside, especially to crowded places.
Meanwhile, the National Capital Region's COVID-19 classification may likely be deescalated to Alert Level 1 by December if it can sustainits low-risk classification for a month and vaccinate 70 percent of its vulnerable population, a health official said.
In an online media forum, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the region remains under low-risk classification, with its average daily cases plateauing in the recent week.
NCR’s average daily cases from November 8 to 14 is 435, slightly higher than its record on November 1 to 7 at 404 cases.
For the period of November 1 to 14, its average daily attack rate is 6.24 and a two-week growth rate of -52 percent.
Vergeire said for a region to be deescalated to Alert Level 1, its low-risk classification must be sustained for two incubation periods.
“So, if we classified your area as low risk on November 1, we’ll observe you for two incubation periods until November 31, if you can sustain this low risk classification,” Vergeire said.
Apart from low-risk classification, a region must have a vaccination coverage of 70 percent for its senior citizen population; 70 percent for persons with comorbidities; and at least 50 percent of the targeted eligible population.
Vergeire noted that more than 70 percent senior citizens and more than 50 percent of the targeted population in the NCR have been vaccinated.
“The LGUs are more empowered to undertake measures against COVID-19 within their respective jurisdictions. We know that under this phase, we need to balance the economy and health protocols,” Nograles said.
“Again, to the parents and guardians of minors who are unvaccinated, please be mindful of the risk. Part of caring for them is thinking about their safety. I hope no one among our children will get COVID-19,” Duterte added.
The government has started the vaccination of minors aged 12 to 17.
The independent OCTA Research Group, meanwhile, emphasized the need to continue wearing face masks, especially among unvaccinated children, as there is still a significant increase in COVID-19 infections in other countries.
The government recently eased protocols in the National Capital Region (NCR), allowing minors, even those not inoculated yet against COVID-19, to go out.
During a briefing of the House committee on trade and industry, OCTA fellow Guido David said they have been looking at the "significantly high infection rate" in the United Kingdom among school-aged children.
"It's about 15 times higher than adults and I think this is something that we have to bring to the table,” David told lawmakers.
However, the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) on Monday called on parents and guardians not to bring children aged 11 years old and below inside malls.
Recent reports have shown children in malls and in parks without face masks. A two-year-old boy, one report said, had tested positive for COVID-19 after his parents brought him to a mall.
A technical working group (TWG) composed of Metro Manila health officials is set to meet to tackle possible age restrictions at malls.
Concern about minors getting infected with COVID-19 was also raised amid the pilot testing of the face-to-face classes in several areas of the country on Monday, Nov. 15.
The Philippines logged only 849 new COVID-19 cases yesterday due to a dip in testing output, bringing the total number of cases to 2,819,341.
The number of new cases is the lowest since Dec. 28, 2020.
There were 99 new fatalities on Tuesday, bringing the COVID-19 death toll to 45,808.
The DOH also reported 2,393 new recoveries, bringing the total recoveries to 2,748,069.
There were 25,464 active cases, of which 59.1 percent were mild, 5.9 percent were asymptomatic, 4.9 percent were critical, 11.5 percent were severe, and 18.61 percent were moderate.
The COVID-19 positivity rate was at 3.2 percent, based on samples of 28,128 individuals on Nov. 14.
Nationwide, 34 percent of ICU beds, 29 percent of isolation beds, 21 percent of ward beds, and 22 percent of ventilators, were in use.
In Metro Manila, 33 percent of ICU beds, 27 percent of isolation beds, 25 percent of ward beds, and 22 percent of ventilators, were in use. (See full story online at manilastandard.net)
Also on Tuesday, the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) said the public must learn to live with the COVID-19 virus and said the positivity rate in Metro Manila should be monitored closely in the next several weeks.
Amid weeks of declining cases of COVID-19 in the country, prompting the government to relax quarantine restrictions. This has enabled more businesses to reopen and more people to go out, which some doctors fear could cause another uptick in the cases.
"We have been in this lockdown for so long. We need to learn to live with the virus, and primary to that are the interventions that do not necessarily restrict the movement of the people,” PCP president Dr.
Maricar Limpin said in an interview on ABS-CBNs’s TeleRadyo.
Learning to live with the virus should not mean protective measures against it are forgotten, Limpin said.
She said while face shields were recently declared to be no longer mandatory in Metro Manila, she still prefers to wear hers.
The Office of the President issued a memo stating that people in areas under Alert Levels 1, 2, and 3 are no longer required to wear face shields in public areas.
Metro Manila was eased into Alert Level 2 this month and will remain under this classification that allows for greater mobility and the opening of more establishments until Nov. 30.
No area of the country is currently under Alert Level 5.
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by manilastandard.net readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of manilastandard.net. While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.