PH not ‘out of the woods’ yet; children should not be allowed outside as they can be ‘super spreaders’ — expert

Published November 30, 2020, 12:44 PM

by Noreen Jazul

A former adviser to the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 is not in favor of lowering the age limit of individuals who can leave their homes, saying children can be “super spreaders” of the coronavirus.


“I’m worried about the kids being allowed to go out and they say that the holiday season is about kids and children but I think if they will be allowed to roam around and visit malls, they will be the ones that will carry the virus at home,” Dr. Tony Leachon told ANC in an interview Monday.

“They will be the super spreaders and that will affect their parents and grandparents as well so this is dangerous,” he added.

Leachon said the current 15-65 age bracket for stay-at-home restrictions should be maintained during the holiday season.

The medical expert said it will also be best if the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) is retained in the National Capital Region and other hotspots.

This way, Leachon said, the country can “actually curb the viral transmission, and at the same time, inform the public that they should actually adhere to the minimum health stands considering the threat of surge during the holiday season because of social mobility.”

“[If] we will not be very focused, then we will fall into the problem of another surge,” he said.

The former MTF adviser said the country is not “out of the woods” yet in its fight against the pandemic, citing a rise in cases in hotspot areas like Davao City, which he said is the current epicenter of the disease in the country.

‘Concurrence of problems’

Leachon also warned that there will be a “concurrence” of problems during the last quarter of the year.

“You will have influenza, you can have dengue fever, you can have pneumonia, and then a surge in COVID cases. You have a surge as well of cardiovascular cases happening during the holiday season,” Leachon said.

“We should more or less be forward-looking in terms of trying to contain these factors, a balance between the healthy or preventative lifestyle while at the same time following also the minimum health standards to curb viral transmission,” he advised.

Leachon said “strong measures” are needed to be put in place during the holidays.

“We will have to limit [social gatherings] to about 10 and everybody should step up to the plate and sacrifice at home, in the workplace, in the community,” he said.

“We should encourage the government to put some measures into this, because in other countries like the United States, they have a stay-at-tome orders in Los Angeles, in South Korea. They will be following the same advisory. I think we should do that also,” he added.