MANILA – Children as young as five years old can now go outdoors despite the prevailing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, as long as they are residing in areas placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ (MGCQ).
This, after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) approved Thursday the further easing of age restrictions in GCQ and MGCQ zones, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement.
Roque, also acting as IATF-EID spokesperson, said areas under GCQ “with heightened restrictions” are not covered by the new policy.
“The Inter-Agency Task on Thursday, July 8, 2021, allowed children, ages 5 and above, under the risk classification of Modified General Community Quarantine and General Community Quarantine, except those under heightened restrictions, to go to outdoor areas,” he said.
Roque said children can only go to outdoor areas such as parks, playgrounds, beaches, biking and hiking trails, outdoor tourist sites and attractions as may be defined by the Department of Tourism, including on outdoor non-contact sports courts and venues, and al-fresco dining establishments.
Mixed-use indoor or outdoor buildings and facilities like malls and similar establishments are not included in the allowed outdoor areas for children, Roque said.
Roque said children who would go out must observe strict health protocols.
“In addition, children must be supervised by adults and observe minimum public health standards, such as wearing of face masks and social distancing,” he said.
The local government units, Roque said, may increase the age restriction of children, depending on the Covid-19 situation in their respective jurisdictions.
Laguna and Cavite have been placed under GCQ “with heightened restrictions,” while Metro Manila, Rizal, and Bulacan have been put under GCQ “with some restrictions” until July 15.
Other areas under GCQ status until July 31 include Baguio City, City of Santiago, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Batangas, Quezon, Guimaras, Aklan, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Antique, Capiz, Zamboanga Sibugay, City of Zamboanga, Iligan City, General Santos City, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, Cotabato, South Cotabato, Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Norte, Agusan del Sur, and Cotabato City.
Under the previous IATF-EID policy, only persons aged 15 to 65 years old are allowed to leave their residences.
However, the IATF-EID in February allowed people aged 10 years to 65 years to go out for non-essential activities. (PNA)