IATF allows minors, senior citizens to leave homes during community quarantine

Bella Perez-Rubio - Philstar.com
IATF allows minors, senior citizens to leave homes during community quarantine
Shoppers queue at a grocery store in Araneta Ave. in Quezon City last March 27, 2020.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 3:49 p.m.) — Individuals who are 15 to 65 years old may now leave their homes, the government's coronavirus task force decided on Thursday, amending the previous range of 18 to 60 years old. 

"The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on Thursday, October 15, 2020, approved the adjustment of age-based stay-at-home restrictions," presidential spokesman Harry Roque confirmed in a statement released Friday. 

"Persons from 15 to 65 years of age are now allowed to go out. Local government units (LGUs) may impose a higher age limit for minors, depending on the COVID-19 situation in their respective jurisdictions," the statement adds. 

These new adjustments are contained in IATF Resolution No. 79, which also updates the list of authorized persons out of residence (APOR) to include the following: 

  • Returning or repatriated overseas Filipino workers
  • Overseas Filipinos returning to their places of residence
  • Other persons transported through the efforts of the national government upon observance of the necessary quarantine protocols with the concurrence of the receiving LGUs

Previously, only "health and emergency frontline services personnel, government officials and government frontline personnel, duly-authorized humanitarian assistance actors, persons traveling for medical or humanitarian reasons, persons going to the airport for travel abroad, and anyone crossing zones for work or business permitted in the zone of destination and going back home" were considered APORs. 

"Related to this is the issue of curfews. The IATF enjoined LGUs not to cover workers, APORs, and necessary establishments in the application of their curfew ordinances, to coordinate between and among each other and standardize curfew rules, and relax curfew hours," Roque added. 

'Adjustments are based on science'

In a separate statement also issued on Friday, the IATF spokesman stressed that these adjustments on age-based stay-at-home restrictions are "based on science and hard data."  

"Global experience has shown that the case fatality rate and severity of sickness between 15 and 20 years old vis-à-vis those who are 65-years old and above is much less as younger people have fewer health risks while there is a prevalence of immunodeficiency and comorbidity among senior citizens who would be better off at home," Roque added. 

In the Philippines, individuals 60 years old and above are considered senior citizens. However, Roque noted that 65 "is the retirement age of most in the private sector."

Latest data from the Department of Health shows that senior citizens comprise 62.7% of the country's coronavirus death toll. Those aged 60 to 64, specifically, make up 13.5% or 848 of the Philippines' 6,497 fatalities. 

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