Parents and mall owners have been warned: They will be penalized if they allow children going inside shopping malls during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority made the warning Thursday after the 17 mayors in the National Capital Region finally decided not to allow persons aged 17 years old and below to go outdoors, including shopping malls, during the pandemic.
“There are corresponding penalties and it depends on the ordinance of the local government units,” said MMDA General Manager Jose Arturo Garcia Jr.
Garcia reminded both the mall owners and the LGUs of their responsibility to ensure that no minors would be allowed to go inside their establishments and other outdoor areas.
“The responsibility will be on the mall owners. If you remember recently there were establishments that have been warned and in fact, a golf course has been closed.”
Garcia said parents allowing their children to go outdoors will also be held liable depending on the ordinance set by the LGUs.
“There will be no more new ordinance to make because there are already existing rules that allow only 18 to 65 years old, except for essentials,” he said.
Garcia said the Metro mayors, through the Metro Manila Council, unanimously agreed to the recommendation of Philippine Pediatrics Society and Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines to disallow the entry of minors to commercial establishments and other outdoor areas such as shopping malls.
“Because of having high immune system, pediatrics experts said that minors who are infected of COVID-19 are usually asymptomatic carriers of the virus. They might be transmitting the virus unknowingly, especially to those vulnerable,” said Garcia.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año commended the Metro Manila mayors’ decision, saying “I commend and I appreciate the NCR mayors for not allowing minors outside, they were the ones who brought up the idea so I said you come up with a decision, it should be uniform, you should only have one voice,” he told reporters in a phone interview.
Año said minors were likely to become spreaders of the virus once they were allowed to go out.
Joint Task Force Covid Shield commander Lt. Gen. Hawthorne Binag said based on the Inter Agency Task Force Resolution 79, ages under 15 and over 65 are not allowed to go outside the house aside for essential purposes both in areas under GCQ and modified GCQ.
The Philippines logged on Thursday 1,061 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 435,413, as 13 laboratories failed to submit their data on time, the Department of Health reported.
The DOH reported that there were 27,642 active cases, or 6.3 percent of the total. Of the active cases, 85.2 percent are mild; 6.9 percent are asymptomatic; 5 percent are critical; 2.6 percent are severe; and 0.28 percent are moderate.
Top cities and provinces with new cases are Davao City, 92; Quezon City, 92; Rizal, 50; Pampanga, 44; and Quezon Province.
The DOH reported that 328 persons have recovered, bringing the total number of recoveries to 399,325, which is 91.7 percent of the total, and 10 new fatalities, bringing the death toll to 8,446, which is 1.94 percent of the total.
With the holidays fast approaching, DOH has strongly reminded the public against holding large family and social gatherings as such can be a source of COVID-19 transmission.
“With our current pandemic situation, any large gathering of people is considered a risk to one’s health. It would be wiser, at this time of pandemic, to simply stay at home during this Yuletide season and limit the celebration to household members only,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said, adding that no one can be sure where the virus may be present.
Duque further advised the public to utilize online platforms such as the social media, video messaging apps and e-commerce sites in place of the traditional holiday activities like attending masses or simbang gabi, getting in touch with relatives, and buying gifts.
The Bureau of Immigration will deploy additional manpower at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport this December with the expected increase of arriving visitors this holiday season.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente issued a directive deploying immigration officers assigned at the bureau’s main office and other satellite, extension and field offices in Metro Manila to the NAIA to render primary inspection duties at the airport’s immigration arrival and departure counters.
“This is a temporary measure that we are taking proactively,” said Morente, adding “while we do not expect a major rise in the number of travelers this holiday season, we’d rather err on the side of caution and beef up our deployment,” he added.
Malacañang on Thursday assured Philippine Red Cross Chairman, Senator Richard Gordon the government would settle its remaining P623-million debt with the humanitarian organization.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the government, particularly the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), had proven its commitment to settle its remaining debt to the PRC in the past.
“The national government will pay. The national government has already proved that they will not turn back on its (sic) obligation,” he said in a press briefing in San Vicente, Palawan.
But Roque said there would be a need to verify the total amount of debt based on the PhilHealth’s “three-tiered payment scheme.”
The Department of Health said it had monitored a decrease in the occupancy rate of hospital beds for COVID-19 patients in Metro Manila, as well as some other regions.
“As of November 29, we noticed a decreasing trend in the utilization rate of COVID beds in the Philippines,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said during a virtual briefing.
Duque said the critical care utilization rate referred to the occupancy rate of intensive care unit beds, isolation beds, COVID ward beds and mechanical bed ventilators nationwide.
Duque said the decrease was seen in the National Capital Region, Region 4B, Region 9, and Region 13 or CARAGA.
Duque explained that NCR had increased its bed allocation for COVID-19 patients to 6,771, or 23% of the total bed capacity of NCR hospitals.