CSF supports review of eased guidelines for minors

The City Government of San Fernando’s Incident Management Team (IMT) has expressed support to a move to review the existing quarantine guidelines for minors, especially those who are not yet eligible for pediatric vaccination.

During the recent random inspection of the IMT in two major malls in the city on November 18, 2021, it was observed that some minors, including toddlers/infants, were not wearing face masks or any protective face coverings.

Raymond del Rosario, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer and IMT’s Incident Commander, said this has implications on minors’ health and safety especially that COVID-19 pandemic still exists.

“Yung pag-aalala natin, nasa mga menor de edad, kabilang ang toddlers at infants dahil hindi natin sila ma-obligang magsuot ng face masks o anumang proteksyon. Ito ay may kaakibat na panganib para sa kanila kaya ang panawagan natin sa mga magulang, kung hindi essential ang lakad sa mga malls o anumang indoor places, iwasan na muna ang pagdala sa kanila dito,” del Rosario explained.

Based on the guidelines released by the Inter-Agency Task Force and the Provincial Government of Pampanga, in places under Alert Level 2, individuals, including those below 18 years old, are allowed to go out of their homes to obtain essential goods and services provided that they are accompanied by their parents or adult relatives.

Despite this, in order to protect them from contracting the virus, the national government still urged local government units to pass ordinances prohibiting children aged 12 years old below to enter malls and other public areas—a move the City supports.

This was stated by none other than President Rodrigo Duterte on November 15, during his speech.

“Paglabas pa lamang ng bagong alert level systems, napag-uusapan na natin [IMT members] ang pag-review sa guidelines at pag-regulate sa paglabas ng mga menor de edad. Kung maglalabas ang national government, we will support and adopt that. Kung hindi, gagawa tayo ng localized guidelines natin,” del Rosario added.

After a series of reviews and discussions, the IMT, through the use of the Public Information System, was expected to release new guidelines on the matter.

Meanwhile, in the aspect of the implementation of minimum public health standards, the IMT was able to observe malls’ compliance, especially with hand sanitation, thermal scanning, and use of contact tracing forms.

Though admittedly more challenging to implement, security personnel were seen to be persistent in reminding the mall goers about the physical and social distancing measures, added the IMT leader.

Following this, the IMT plans to conduct a weekly random inspection activity in major malls and spaces, along with the regular inspection activities of the team’s task groups on water, sanitation, hygiene, business, and events.

As of November 22, City of San Fernando has 40 active cases of Covid-19 in 14 villages. Total cases numbered 11,268, with 10,902 recoveries and 326 deaths.

Twenty-one villages were Covid-19 free.