By Genalyn Kabiling
The government’s pandemic task force has no intention of placing all senior citizens under “house arrest” in areas under quarantine but will require identification cards to facilitate their movement outside their residences, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said Thursday.
According to Lopez, senior citizens may still leave their homes to work, go on medical checkups and buy essentials even during the quarantine period.
The appropriate guidelines on the matter are expected to be issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management for the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) soon.
“IATF is not insisting that seniors are under house arrest or will be under house arrest. This is just an overall policy presented to us due to vulnerability of the age segment especially during the quarantine period,” Lopez said in a message read by Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar on government television Thursday.
“The operating guidelines are to be issued. Of course the seniors who are actively working or running businesses will be allowed. We will use ID system. Also allowing of course those needing medical checkups and other procedures, also buying food, medicines and asking for government assistance,” the trade chief added.
Several lawmakers and concerned groups have appealed to the government to relax its strict stay-at-home rule for senior citizens during the quarantine period. They said the elderly must be allowed to do errands and continue their work if they are still able.
Based on the general community quarantine guidelines released by the Palace last week, persons below below 21 years old, 60 years old and above, and as well as those with health risk must stay at home.
Earlier, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said he hopes the task force would grant exemptions to certain seniors, citing that many decision-markers in government and private sector belong to the elderly group.