(Eagle News) — President Rodrigo Duterte said that he was just taking precautionary measures when he decided to reverse the earlier resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases on regarding the easing of restrictions for children aged 10 to 14 years in Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) areas.
The 75-year old Philippine leader, who is also a doting grandfather, said that it is best to be extra careful especially with the entry of the COVID-19 virus variant, B.1.1.7 which has been detected even in minors in Bontoc province. He also cited precautions issued in the United Kingdom that even children are being infected by the new strain.
“Pasensiya na po kayo. Mine is just a precaution,” he said.
President Duterte noted that unlike the original COVID-19 virus strains, this UK variant, B.1.1.7 also strikes young children.
“Takot lang ako kasi itong bagong strain strikes the young children. Itong original na COVID, hardly if at all, na wala kang marinig na may bata. Mayroon one or two and you can count it by the fingers of your hands kung ilan ang bata na tinamaan,” he said.
-Duterte cites warning issued by UK Prime Minister-
He noted that even British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had warned how studies in the United Kingdom have shown that the new variant strikes even school-age children.
This is why the Philippines should also take extra care in preventing children from being exposed to the virus.
“According to the studies, balita lang man rin ito ng United Kingdom, nag-warning si Johnson, ‘yung Prime Minister nila that it can af — you know, that kind of affliction can, well, walang limit sa edad kung ilan. So it does not have any cut-off there,” President Duterte said.
“So just to be sure and in our desire to protect our people, napilitan akong i-reimpose ‘yung 10 to 14. Not at this time. It’s a sacrifice for the parents and for the children. It would limit their movements and their — you know, that’s about the time when they are playful and they need space to, you know, move. Iyan ang problema. Hindi natin sigurado,” he said.
Duterte said that his order for children to still stay at home would be in effect until there are findings in the scientific community that showed that children are in danger of being infected by this new COVID-19 variant. The COVID-19 vaccines being given to majority of the population might also help ease the transmission, he said. But for now, there is a race to save the population from contracting the virus and stopping the transmission.
“Once it is confirmed na talagang ang mga bata tinatamaan pati as young as 10 years old or even younger, well that order will subsist until such time that everybody will be safe by the bakuna. So habulan ito,” the Philippine leader stressed.
(Eagle News Service)