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COVID-19 WATCH

IATF mulls seniors’ exceptions under GCQ – Palace

Francis Wakefield

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Presidential spokesman Harry Roque on Wednesday said that members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) may consider giving exceptions to senior citizens amid the May implementation of the general community quarantine (GCQ).

In a televised interview, Roque said that he has been hounded by senior citizens who want to get an exemption from the IATF after his announcement last week that persons who are 60 and above are still not allowed to go out from their homes in areas under GCQ starting 1 May 2020.

To recall, the general guidelines of the enhanced community quarantine said that persons who are 60 years old and above or those considered as senior citizens are not allowed to leave their homes even, while those under 20 years and below are also not allowed to go out of the homes in areas where the ECQ is enforced.

Meantime, part of the agenda of the IATF during their meeting today, Wednesday, is to finalize the list of industries that can open under GCQ and Roque said that a lot of senior citizens are actually decision makers in different companies and many also belong to the government.

“Well, they (IATF) will finalize the list of industries that can open in GCQ areas, number one, and I hope they will also discuss exceptions to the rule that 60 years old and above will have to stay home,” said Roque. “Actually, I’ve been hounded by senior citizens since that announcement came out because apparently the 60 plus seniors are the decision makers in different companies, including government.”

“I mean, I think 80 percent of the Cabinet (secretaries) are senior citizens as well. So, I hope they come up with exceptions to the rule that says that senior citizens together with the youth will have to stay indoors,” he added.

Government offices, salons, and parts of shopping malls, etc. located in areas under GCQ will reopen beginning 1 May after government loosened quarantine protocols for regions and provinces considered low-risk and moderate-risk areas.

Under GCQ guidelines, there are individuals who will still not be allowed to leave their homes, curfew hours will still be enforced, and certain establishments will still remain closed.

People with high-risk health issues are also now allowed to leave their houses in areas under GCQ and ECQ.

In the same interview, Roque also confirmed that the provinces of Capiz, Aklan, Davao Del Norte, Davao de Oro, Iloilo and Aurora will be under GCQ.

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