MEMBERS of the Metro Manila Council (MMC) and experts will discuss the possibility of changing policies related to allowing children to go to malls.
This development came after a doctor posted on social media a two-year-old-child who tested positive in a COVID-19 rapid antigen test after supposedly going to the mall.
According to Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Benhur Abalos, local health officials, including pediatricians and the director of the Department of Health-National Capital Region (DOH-NCR), will sit down and discuss to carefully weigh the appropriate age of a child before he/she is allowed to go to indoor spaces such as shopping malls.
Their recommendation will serve as guide for the city mayors in crafting their policy.
“Primary issue would be kids who can’t wear face masks because they might suffocate. Specifically in crowded spaces, closed spacesna hindi kaya pang mag-face mask dahil they might be suffocated. Specifically crowded spaces, closed spaces, 3Cs like malls, will they still be allowed? At what age?” according to Abalos.
DOH spokesperson and Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that children 5 years old and below are not obligated to wear face masks because they won’t be able to breathe properly, but this will mean that their level of protection against the virus won’t be the same as adults.
While waiting for the results of the possible review of policies, Abalos appealed to parents to be responsible for their kids.
“There are things that parents should intervene, not always the state. We have parental responsibility. No need for the state to dictate on us,” says Abalos.
Vergeire also urged parents to avoid bringing their children to enclosed spaces, especially if it’s crowded.
“The very reason why children were allowed to go out is because of their health. The three major reasons why we wanted them out was because they can exercise outside, get sunlight, interact with other children — but not for them to be brought to crowded establishments like malls,” according to Vergeire.