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Metro Manila mayors eyeing mall ban on kids

Republika

Following the case of a toddler contracting Covid19, top local officials in Metro Manila have begun discussing the possibility of prohibiting young children from being brought to shopping malls.


With the holiday season fast approaching, people flocking to commercial establishments would mean heavier crowds within enclosed spaces such as malls, thus becoming a potential health threat to children.


To determine this, and the necessity, as well as the viability of a ban, Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benhur Abalos, announced that a medical expert-led task force spearheaded by the Department of Health (DOH) will be looking into the proposal.


Upon collating results from the analysis, the task force will report its findings and recommendations to the Metro Manila Council (MMC) for a final decision to be made.


The MMDA chair was quick to point out that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) grants local government units (LGUs) the prerogative and authority to modify their guidelines based on their constituents’ needs and protection.


Abalos further added that with the Covid19 Alert Level in Metro Manila lowered, the influx of children out and about in areas that are designated as 3C (confined spaces, crowded places, and close-contact settings) is a cause for concern.


Meanwhile, because the DOH has regarded the recent toddler infection as an isolated case, the agency’s focus has been, according to Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, on protocol enforcement.


As limited face-to-face classes have resumed, Vergeire stated that children shouldn’t be barred entirely from going outside, but should instead be brought to open-air spaces, rathe than crowded shopping centers.


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