By Mario Casayuran
Senator Imee R. Marcos said on Friday quarantine restrictions should have been imposed on younger age groups and not on senior citizens based on the case count of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections.
“Why subject senior citizens to quarantine restrictions tantamount to a house arrest? Besides data from the Department of Health (DOH), living proof is everywhere that we are still strong enough in mind and body to work and help fight this pandemic,” Marcos said.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, 74, and Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, 71, earlier said criticized the DOH guideline that bars senior citizens from leaving their homes during the current COVID-19 lockdown, saying it had no basis.
Marcos, 64, cited DOH statistics published on-line by the University of the Philippines (UP), which show that the top four age groups with the most number of infections are as follows: 21 to 30 years old, 31 to 40 years old, 51 to 60 years old, and 41 to 50 years old, respectively.
Senior citizens aged 61 to 70 and 71 to 80 only ranked fifth and sixth, while those aged 81 and above had the fewest cases of infection, Marcos said.
“This is just to emphasize that policy-making needs (to be) more thorough(ly) thought (out) and must be communicated to the public in detail, at the outset. Otherwise, the government will appear to backtrack when policy pronouncements are unclear and cause a public backlash,” she pointed out.
Health experts worldwide have said that seniors are among the most vulnerable to viral infection due to underlying medical conditions that come with age, but the Philippine situation has shown a unique picture, she added.
Public criticism of its plan to keep senior citizens homebound has prompted the government to clarify that they can actually leave home to buy food and medicine if no one else can do it for them.
Seniors can also go back to work if their offices are listed among those allowed to resume operations where community quarantines will be in effect until May 15.