With the easing of restrictions for minors in public establishments under Alert Level 2, an official of the Davao City COVID-19 Task Force has reminded parents and guardians to take extra precautions in bringing their children to crowded places.

During the COVID-19 Alert Program on the city-run Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR), Davao City COVID-19 Task Force spokesperson Dr. Michelle Schlosser said that minors, especially those below 11 years old, are at risk of contracting the virus considering that these are the unvaccinated population.

In the national government’s vaccination rollout, only minors aged 12 to 17 years old were allowed to be vaccinated.

“Gentle reminder lang sa mga parents because sa Alert Level 2, dili na restricted ang paggawas sa mga kabatan-onan pero reminder lang gyud sa atoang mga parents labi na gyud tong mga 11 years old below, kay wala man tay mga bakuna para sa ilaha, so they do not have an extra layer of protection (A gentle reminder to our parents to take extra precaution. Although there are no more movement restrictions for minors aged 11 below, they are still vulnerable to infection because they don’t have an extra layer of protection),” Schlosser said.

On November 13, Davao City was placed under Alert Level 2 with more relaxed restrictions from its former Alert Level 3 quarantine classification from November 15 to November 30 following the continuous drop of COVID-19 cases.

Under the Alert Level 2 guidelines set by the national pandemic response task force, some establishments or activities are allowed to operate or be undertaken at a maximum of 50% indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals and those below 18 years of age, even if unvaccinated, and 70% outdoor venue capacity.

This is provided that all workers/employees of these establishments are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and minimum public health standards (MPSH) shall be strictly observed.

“I hope nga mas careful and vigilant ang parents nga dili lang sa kaayo excited nga mag-adto ug mga crowded places, katong mga high-risk places kung dili man gyud necessary (Let’s not be too excited about visiting crowded places unless it is necessary),” she said.

She further said, “Atong mga minors wala na silay sense of responsibility. Dili kaayo ta maka-assure sa ilaha nga constantly ma-wear nila ilang face mask properly, mag-social distancing sila. Dili sila ing-ana ka responsible towards following of minimum public health standard (Our minors have no sense of responsibility. We cannot assure that they will follow the MPHS properly).”

The health official said that imposing restrictions on minors at the city level was discussed during the COVID-19 Task Force weekly meeting and there is a plan to create modifications to limit their entry to the 3C setting and ensure their safety against the virus.

While she understands the parents’ excitement to bring their children inside establishments like malls, Schlosser emphasized the risk of allowing the children to go out of their residence as they could be potential spreaders.

“We cannot be lenient because even though we don’t have severe and critical cases among our minors, naa gihapon tay cases and naa gihapon tay cases of death so dili kaayo ta maging kampanate. Dili ta pwede magpabaya just because nibaba na ang cases because wala pa totally na eradicate ang COVID (we still have COVID-19 cases, we still have cases of death among minors so let’s not be complacent. We can’t be careless because we haven’t eradicated the virus),” she said.

Despite the less-strict restrictions, Schlosser urged the public to continue observing the minimum public health standard such as wearing of masks, frequent hand hygiene, maintaining social distancing, and avoiding mass gathering in 3C settings – crowded places, close contact, and confined and enclosed spaces.CIO