MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has ordered the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Metro Manila Council of mayors to review the restrictions on children in going out of their residences.
This came following a post on social media regarding a two-year-old boy who contracted coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) three days after going to the mall.
A doctor reportedly posted about a boy who he diagnosed to have contracted the virus. The doctor did not give the identity of the boy.
Upon his inquiry to the companion of the boy as to how and where the boy could have been exposed, he was told that the boy had gone to the mall.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año expressed dismay upon learning of the said post.
Secretary Año reiterated the power of the local government to impose restrictions on children in going to the malls as they are not yet vaccinated against the highly infectious virus.
The MMDA has earlier said that children are allowed to go to malls in areas under Alert Level 2, as long as they are accompanied by their parents.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) through its spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire issued a statement regarding the report, reiterating that the cause of the positive COVID-19 result could be from various factors.
“This news is very unfortunate. Although the recent activities done, like the mall visit, may be a possible source of infection, its exact cause will remain multifactorial and uncertain. Factors such as adults from the same household going to work and bringing the infection home could also be a possibility,” Vergeire said.
“In line with this, we would like to reiterate that the COVID-19 virus is still very much present,” she stressed.
The DOH, Vergeire said, “is tirelessly encouraging individuals aged 12 and above to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to achieve the ‘cocoon effect’ which protects younger children at home and in the community”.
The official advised parents and guardians to take extra precautions if they will bring their children with them as more establishments were opened.
Vergeire also emphasized the importance of getting vaccinated, as well as, observing health protocols.
“We have to avoid the 3Cs: closed-contact settings, crowded places, close spaces to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 infection, and complement it with the strict and religious adherence to the Minimum Public Health Standards (MPHS) as these will be part of our new normal,” the health official said. —/mbmf (with details from UNTV Correspondents Aiko Miguel and JP Nuñez)