Europe-PH News

People below 18 may become Covid ‘supercarriers’ if age restrictions ease, OCTA warns

February 16, 2021

ECCP Online

MANILA, Philippines --- Persons aged below 18 years old may become "supercarriers" of Sars-Cov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, should age restrictions in Metro Manila be eased, a member of the OCTA Research group warned Tuesday.

"Ang problema is magiging carrier sila at possible maging supercarrier pa nga sila [The problem here is they may become carriers or even supercarriers]," OCTA Research group member Dr. Guido David said.

David expressed his concern in an interview over radio station DzMM when asked for his reaction on the Metro Manila mayors' plan to ask the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to lower age restrictions in the National Capital Region.

David, however, said that the group understands the mayors' justification to ease the age restriction.

"For economic reasons, maiitindihan naman natin yung justification nila [we can understand their justification]," he said.

"Pero at the same time, alam naman natin yung bakuna hindi pa sila designed pa para sa mga below 16 years old eh [But at the same time, we know that the vaccine is not yet designed for those below 16]," he added.

"Malaking factor 'yan kasi hindi sila mapapabakunahan at lalo na yung sabi nila yung variant, mas nakakahawa sa bata [It's a big factor since they can't be vaccinated yet and they said that the variant is more infectious to children]," he warned.

David was referring to previous research that children, teenagers and young adults may become more susceptible to B.1.1.7 Covid-19 variant from the United Kingdom. This Covid-19 variant has already infected 44 people in the Philippines, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

Currently, the IATF has allowed persons aged 15 to 65 in general community quarantine (GCQ) areas to step out of their residences.

However, all cities in Metro Manila, which is also on GCQ, have not allowed individuals aged below 18 years old to visit malls while the GCQ status is still in effect.

In the same interview, David was also asked about the National Economic and Development Authority's recommendation to allow individuals aged five to 70 to go outside their homes.

"Nakakagulat talaga 'yun. Mahirap sila ipasunod sa mga health protocols, 'yun yung magiging problema natin [That's really shocking. It's hard to make them abide by the health protocols, that will be our problem]," he said.

"Sana naka-roll out na tayo ng vaccine by that time [I hope we already have a vaccine rollout by that time]," he added.

By Katrina Hallare
Source: Inquirer Mobile

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