Davao City mulls stricter curbs for children aged 11 years old and below

A mother takes a selfie with her kids inside a mall in Davao City on Monday, 22 November 2021. Minors are now allowed inside shopping malls after the government eases the quarantine restrictions. MindaNews Photo

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 22 November) – The City Government of Davao is pondering to restrict the movement of minors after local authorities here noticed that many parents are bringing to the malls their children who have not been vaccinated against the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Mayor Sara Duterte said.

Duterte told Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) that authorities took up this matter during the COVID-19 Task Force meeting on Monday, but no decision has been reached yet.

She added that the response cluster will draft some recommendations, which will be discussed again at the level of the task force.

The mayor said that the local government is currently following the guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Diseases (IATF-MEID) for areas placed under Alert Level 2.

She said the local authorities are particularly concerned about children aged 11 and below, who are being brought by their parents to enclosed establishments like shopping malls.

Duterte noted that children belonging to such age group do not have protection against coronavirus disease because they are not yet vaccinated.

The national government allows COVID-19 vaccine to be administered only to minors aged 12 to 17 years old.

Comirnaty of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have been given the emergency use authorization by the government for 12 to 17 years old.

But Task force spokesperson Dr. Michelle Schlosser said that Alert Level 2 does not impose restrictions on the movement of people across all age groups.

Last week, she reminded parents that children can become potential spreaders of the virus.

She stressed that the threat of the pandemic continues even after the city noted a dramatic decrease in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Schlosser said that there is no assurance that the children could properly wear their face masks and observe physical distancing while inside the malls.

As of November 19, Duterte said the city has reached a total of 1,010,811 individuals jabbed with the first dose and 908,101 with the second dose or 75.7% of the target of 1.2 million to attain herd immunity.

Out of this total, 39,505 children aged 12 to 17 received the first dose and 70 for the second dose.

According to the Department of Health-Davao, Davao City reported three new COVID-19 cases as of November 21, bringing the total cases to 53,714 with 302 active, 51,637 recovered and 1,775 dead. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)