THERE are two recent proclamations by those managing the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic in the country that can appear to be contradictory.
Children five years old and above are now allowed to go outdoors except in malls and other mixed-use areas. At almost the same time, the Department of Health (DOH) declared that the region, Central Visayas, is now on its third wave of Covid-19 infections with cases rising and usage of hospital resources increasing.
These decisions appear contradictory -- that children, among those at risk of getting infected as they have not been vaccinated against the virus, are now allowed out of their homes while Cebu City and the region in general are seeing an increase in infection cases. We are left to trust those who are leading the battle against Covid-19 to make the right decisions for us. We rely on prayers and we trust that those in charge know what they are doing. But, if the situation deteriorates, it’s better to take back a decision than to see infection cases rise and children placed at risk.
On July 8, 2021, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases issued a resolution allowing children five years old and above to leave their homes after 15 months of lockdown and prohibition from going outdoors. There are still restrictions as to where they can go; and, of course, that those usual safety measures be followed such as properly wearing of masks and face shields, physical distancing, avoiding crowds, staying in well-ventilated areas and frequent hand washing.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire explained Monday, July 12, that the IATF decision was made in consultation with child health experts who have said some children developed physical and mental issues due to pandemic fatigue. The reasons for allowing children to go out are to address their physical and mental health and also to prepare for the resumption of face-to-face classes.
But holding classes in school may remain far-fetched since the government has insisted that no face-to-face classes be held because of the country’s low vaccination rate and the spread of highly transmissible variants of the virus that causes Covid-19.
As to the region’s third wave, Dr. Eugenia Mercedes Cañal, head of the DOH 7 Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit, said the upward trend in cases was noticed in the last four weeks. Cebu City went back to having active cases in the four digits when it recorded 1,005 cases last July 9.
The first wave happened in May to June last year, the second in January and February after the holidays. In March, the vaccination program started with medical frontliners first, followed by senior citizens and those with underlying health conditions.
We trust that the IATF and the DOH make the right decisions for us, but there is no defeat in later revising or withdrawing a resolution if a continuing increase in infection cases demands it. (email@example.com)