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Kids 10 to 14 allowed outside in MGCQ areas

MJ Blancaflor

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The government has eased age restrictions in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), allowing 10 to 14 year-olds to step out of their homes beginning 1 February.

Under the previous policy of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), only individuals aged 15 to 65 years old are allowed outside.

“The IATF approved the recommendation to relax age-based restrictions for areas placed under MGCQ beginning February 1, 2021. Any person below 10 years old and those who are over 65 years of age shall be required to remain in their residence at all times,” said presidential spokesperson Harry Roque in a statement Friday.

Meanwhile, local government units of general community areas (GCQ) are “enjoined” to adopt the new rule, he added.

The policy came as the Philippine government faces pressure to contain the spread of Covid-19 with the nationwide tally hitting the 507,000-mark on Thursday afternoon, nearly a year after the first infection was detected in the country. Over 10,000 individuals have died because of the illness.

Majority of provinces in the Philippines are currently under MGCQ, except Metro Manila, the provinces of Batangas, Lanao del Sur, and Davao del Norte, along with the cities of Santiago in Isabela, Tacloban in Leyte, Iligan in Lanao del Norte and Davao City in Davao del Sur which are under GCQ.

The current lockdown classifications are set to lapse after 31 January.

When the Covid-19 outbreak began in March, the government enforced lockdowns in a bid to contain the spread of the novel disease, restricting movement except for crucial work and health concerns.

Since then, the government has been imposing varying levels of quarantine restrictions across the archipelago. Classifications are based on the number of infections recorded in the area, as well as the health care system’s capacity to accommodate patients.

Under MGCQ, public gatherings such as movie screenings, concerts, sporting events and other entertainment activities are allowed, but participants may fill no more than half of the capacity of the venue.The same rule applies to religious gatherings, community assemblies, and non-essential work gatherings.

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