Gulf Today

Restore COVID-19 ban on kids, Manila urged

- Manolo B Jara

MANILA: Metro Manila mayors have agreed to ask the government to suspend anew its decision allowing children aged five and above to leave their homes and visit open spaces like parks following fears over the confirmed entry in the country of the more infectious Delta variant of the coronaviru­s ( COVID-19), according to a ranking official.

Benhur Abalos, the chairman of the Metro Manila Developmen­t Authority (MMDA), reported the mayors of the 16 cities and one town that compose Metro Manila met and recommende­d the restoratio­n of the ban only days ater the government allowed the children to go outdoors ater being cooped up for at least two years mainly due to lockdowns to help contain the spread of the virus.

Mayor Edwin Olivarez, the head of the Metro Manila Council ( MMC), composed of the 17 mayors, confirmed the statement of Abalos as he told ABS-CBN Teleradyo: “We assume we already have the Delta variant so we are able to prepare and get ready for the worst.”

But Mayor Toby Tiangco of suburban Navotas City in Metro Manila, jumped the gun on his colleagues and announced he again imposed the ban on the children amid rising COVID-19 cases and the threat of the Delta variant which continued to wreak havoc on India where it was first confirmed, as well as in Indonesia and 100 other countries like the US.

Tiangco revealed Navotas has been experienci­ng a surge in COVID infections. He said that as of July 19, the city logged an increase in confirmed COVID cases at 152 compared to the 41 recorded on June 25.

“Our active cases,” Tiangco said, “have mutiplied almost four times. We cannot be complacent. We need to implement additional measures (including the 24-hour curfew ordinance for minors) to keep our people safe, especially the children and vulnerable sectors.”

Earlier, the Department of Health (DOH) revealed that at least 11 Filipinos have been confirmed to have been infected locally by the COVID Delhi variant, three of whom had succumbed to the dreaded disease.

However, Health Undersecre­tary Maria Rosario Vergeire assured that so far, they have not received reports over the transmissi­on of the Delhi variant in the community or “barangay” (village) level.

Dr Rontgene Solante, an infectious disease expert, supported the Metro Manila mayors for the restoratio­n of the ban.

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Filipinos queue for free COVID-19 vaccinatio­n at the San Andres Sports Complex in Manila on Wednesday.
Reuters ↑ Filipinos queue for free COVID-19 vaccinatio­n at the San Andres Sports Complex in Manila on Wednesday.

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