Manila health chief slams plan allowing minors to go to malls - GulfToday

Manila health chief slams plan allowing minors to go to malls


Officials check the temperatures of the students at a school in Manila. File

Manolo B. Jara, Correspondent

Health Secretary Francisco Duque on Wednesday opposed the plan allowing minors to leave their homes and visit shopping malls, warning this could lead to a spike in the number of infections especially during the holiday season from the coronavirus pandemic.

Duque pointed out that about three to five per cent of the total COVID-19 cases in the country are children and, as such, he warned: "They are not exempted from infections. As much as possible, we are discouraging that because there still that risk."

Duque was reacting to the statement of Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano that minors may soon be allowed to leave their homes and visit shopping malls as long as they are accompanied by their parents or guardians.

But Ano, a retired military general, said local government units have yet to pass resolutions or ordinances providing for the age brackets in minors allowed to visit the malls since lockdowns were imposed to prevent the spread of the virus.


Duterte orders reduction in prices of medicines

Philippine President orders police to shoot dead lockdown troublemakers

Duterte orders customs chief to shoot, kill drug smugglers

PAL suspends Dubai-Manila-Dubai flights due to virus

On the other hand, Duque noted that although they may not show symptoms (or asymptomatic), children could still become a major contributory factor in the spread of the pandemic.

"When they talk or hug their parents, grandmothers, grandfathers, uncles and other relatives they could transmit the virus and we could have a high transmission rate," said the embattled Duque, the object of ouster moves particularly by lawmakers, citing his alleged failure to contain the virus.

Joining Duque in opposing the plan was Brigadier General Vicente Danao, the new chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Metro Manila regional command, who described the move as "premature."

"We are still under general community quarantine (GCQ) where minors are barred from shopping malls. But the authorities have decided to allow them as long as they will be accompanied by responsible adults; Take note — responsible adults," said Danao.

As the new police regional command chief, Danao has jurisdiction over the 16 cities and one town that compose Metro Manila, officially called the National Capital Region, with a total population of more than 12 million.

In his nationwide televised address late on Monday night, President Duterte imposed GCQ in Metro Manila and other areas like Davao City, his hometown in Mindanao, until the end of the year, which bans minors and senior citizens from leaving their homes with certain exemptions, however.

Related articles