The government has eased the age restrictions in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), allowing children aged 10 to 14 years old to go out beginning February 1, Malacañang announced on Friday.
Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) approved the recommendation to relax age-based restrictions for MGCQ areas during a meeting on Thursday.
“Sa MGCQ, ano po ‘yun inapruban? Pupuwede na pong lumabas ang mga bata na may edad 10 gulang hanggang senior citizens na 65 years (In MGCQ, what was approved? Children aged 10 up to senior citizens aged 65 are now allowed to go outside of their homes),” Roque announced over state-run PTV-4.
Under the previous policy of the IATF, only individuals aged 15 to 65 years old are allowed outside.
Meanwhile, those covered by the age restrictions could only go out of their homes to access essential items and services.
“Any person below ten (10) years old and those who are over sixty-five (65) years of age shall be required to remain in their residence at all times,” Roque said in a separate statement.
“Local government units (LGUs), on the other hand, are enjoined to adopt the same relaxation of age-restrictions for areas under General Community Quarantine (GCQ),” he added.
Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua had proposed easing age restrictions and allow more children and families to shop and spend while still observing health and safety protocols.
As the youth sector takes up the majority of the population, bulk of the P21 billion in wages that the economy spends every month to quarantine regulations comes from the restrictions enforced against family activities, Chua said.
Government economists, backed by business groups, are pushing to reopen the economy to its near-full, if not full, capacity to reverse the losses on investments, revenue, jobs, among others, endured at the height of Covid-19 lockdowns last year.
To date, the country recorded 507,717 Covid-19 cases, with 467,475 recoveries and 10,116 deaths.