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Gov't urged to rethink allowing seminars, easing age-based restrictions
A worker wearing a personal protective suit disinfects escalators, as part of measures aimed at preventing the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, in a mall in Manila on June 2, 2020, a day after the government eased up quarantine measures in the country's capital.
AFP/Ted Aljibe

Gov't urged to rethink allowing seminars, easing age-based restrictions

Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - December 9, 2020 - 2:23pm

MANILA, Philippines — The government should reassess its decision allowing conferences and relaxing age-based restrictions as these may trigger another wave of coronavirus infections, researchers studying the COVID-19 outbreak in the country said.

The government’s inter-agency task force recently allowed limited in-person workshops, trainings, seminars and other related events in areas under general community quarantine.

Last week, the Department of the Interior and Local Government said that local ordinances are needed before children can visit malls during the holidays.

Currently, only people aged 15 to 65 are permitted to go out in areas under General Community Quarantine and Modified GCQ, subject to the discretion of local governments. In Metro Manila, only those aged 18 to 65 can be outside of their homes.

The OCTA Research Team said that while it supports the gradual reopening of the economy, the national government should rethink its directives that “may increase the chances of dangerous superspreader events.”

“We understand the logic of economic promotion in these directives but given the reality of significant outbreaks still in many GCQ areas, we believe that at this time, these directives are risky and opposed to good or sensible pandemic management,” researchers from the University of the Philippines and the University of Santo Tomas said.

“We should be especially cautious of the impact of these directives as we approach the Christmas holidays,” they added.

The Department of Health has been advising the public to hold virtual meetings and shop online instead of attending in-person gatherings and going to crowded places.

The OCTA Research Team reminded the public to remain vigilant, especially during the holidays.

“While we must and we will celebrate the coming Christmas season, we should do so in a safe and a responsible manner not just to ensure our own safety and wellbeing but that of our families and our community. During this new normal Christmas, we must all be mindful that the virus is still here and is very much a clear and present danger to us all,” it said.

The Philippines has so far reported 442,785 COVID-19 cases, of which 25,325 are considered active.

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