The Philippines has been under quarantine ever since March 15, 2020, and cities and provinces in the country have since then switching between different types of quarantines since then: modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), and general community quarantine (GCQ).
To some effect, the quarantine classifications helped curb the spread of the virus especially in the epicenters of the disease in the country. It limited the movement in high-risk areas, and gave more freedom to those who were in low-risk areas. However, the quarantines also have downsides to it— economically, financially, and socially. (Read: 10 Prayers from the Bible to Inspire Change in Your Life)
That’s why even with the pandemic still on-going, the Metro Manila Council (MMC) is looking to request the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) to lower the age restrictions of people and children who can go out. From individuals aged 18 to 65, they are recommending to lower it to 10 years old especially in areas under MGCQ.
A Growing Concern
However, some experts are also apprehensive with the MMC’s recommendation because they said that children can be ‘supercarriers’ if ever they are allowed to go outside. According to OCTA Research group member Dr. Guido David, those below 18 might become supercarriers of the SARS-COV2 virus if they push through with allowing them to go outside.
“Ang problema is magiging carrier sila at possible maging supercarrier pa nga sila,” Dr. David said. He says that it is understandable that the local government units are pushing for this since the pandemic has affected the country’s economy drastically, and allowing more people to go out means an economy boost.
But they said this could pose a serious problem because the vaccines available in the market right now are not designed for individuals below 16 years old. (Read: 28yo Cebuano Priest Shares Healing Journey From a Rare Disease)
“Malaking factor ‘yan kasi hindi sila mapapabakunahan at lalo na yung sabi nila yung variant, mas nakakahawa sa bata,” he added.
This is in reference to a study that found that young adults may be more susceptible to the COVID-19 UK variant, the B.1.1.7. Dr. David hopes that before lowering the age restrictions, vaccines will be rolled out first to ensure the safety of the public.