Children and seniors have been given the green light to use public transportation in Metro Manila amid the region’s shift to Alert Level 2, according to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.
In a Nov. 6 press briefing, Manuel Gonzales—the Department of Transportation’s Assistant Secretary for Special Concerns, who also serves as the head of the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic (IACT)—said that kids and the elderly are still not allowed to use public utility vehicles.
MMDA chairman Benhur Abalos, however, clarified on Nov. 7 that the IACT just had a miscommunication. "Ang sabi sa akin ni DOTr Usec. Steve Pastor, nagkaroon lamang ng miscommunication sa IACT, pero pwede raw ang matatanda at bata sa public transportation. Just to clarify it, yun ang sinabi niya sa akin,” he said in an interview on ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo.
“Klaro po ito, public transport, pwede ang matanda, pwede ang bata po,” added Abalos.
Children have also been permitted to enter malls in the metro with its implementation of a lower alert level status from Nov. 5 to Nov. 21, as recommended by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF). Areas under Alert Level 2 are those where “case transmission is low and decreasing health utilization is low, or case counts are low but increasing, or case counts are low and decreasing but total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate is increasing," as per the IATF.
As of Nov. 6, the Department of Health has recorded a total of 2,800,621 COVID-19 infections in the Philippines, with 34,866 active cases, 2,721,516 recoveries, and 44,239 deaths. The health agency has seen a continued decline in the number of coronavirus cases in the country. On Nov. 2, it logged the lowest single-day record in almost eight months.
COVID-19 inoculations using Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have additionally started on Nov. 3 for individuals aged between 12 and 17.