Senior citizens who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ are now allowed to go outside their homes for non-essential trips, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque announced on Friday.
Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) made the decision in a meeting on Thursday.
"Subject ito sa mga kondisyon tulad ng pagdadala ng duly issued vaccination card at pagsunod sa minimum heath protocols," he said.
(This is subject to condition like the bringing of the duly issued vaccination card and following minimum health protocols.)
Interzonal travel for fully vaccinated senior citizens, however, is still prohibited except for point-to-point travel.
In a separate briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire reminded fully vaccinated senior citizens that they will still need to follow health protocols against COVID-19.
“Pinapayagan po ng ating gobyerno na makalabas na ang ating mga senior citizens starting June 16 na fully vaccinated, ‘yun lang pong may dalawang doses ng bakuna,” she said.
(The government has allowed fully vaccinated senior citizens to go outside starting June 16. This is only for those who have gotten two doses.)
“Kayo po ay pinapayagan pero kailangan mag-iingat po kayo, kayo po ay dapat susunod pa rin sa ating minimum public health standards para hindi po tayo nagkakaroon pa ng impeksyon… [o] makapanghawa,” she added.
(You are allowed to go out but you still need to be vigilant and follow minimum public health standards to avoid getting infected or infecting others.)
Only 415,540 elderly have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of June 8. The DOH earlier said there are around 9 million senior citizens nationwide.
Both Roque and Vergeire urged senior citizens to get inoculated to enjoy the loosened restrictions for fully vaccinated individuals.
Before the announcement, seniors were prohibited from going outside their homes unless they were on essential trips and no one who could do such errands for them.
Meanwhile, in the same announcement, Roque said the government's policy of imposing a seven-day quarantine for fully vaccinated travelers entering the Philippines provided they got their COVID-19 vaccine in the Philippines has been amended so it will only take effect on June 16.
Roque also said the IATF has allowed the reopening of indoor non-contact sports venues in NCR Plus areas at 30% venue capacity. Indoor non-contact sports venues include gyms, fitness studios, skating rinks, and racket sports courts.
Roque said the operations of these indoor sports facilities will be allowed provided that they secure Safety Seal Certification from the Department of Trade and Industry.
NCR Plus is composed of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal.
Amid this apparent easing of restrictions, a fellow from the OCTA Research said NCR Plus is not yet ready to shift to modified GCQ.
Interviewed on Super Radyo dzBB, Professor Ranjit Rye said NCR Plus’ average number of new COVID-19 cases remains high at about a thousand infections per day.
NCR Plus is under GCQ until June 15. —KBK, GMA News