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OCTA: Reimpose NCR Plus bubble, ban on kids outdoors due to Delta variant


OCTA Research is urging the government to reimpose the bubble policy over Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, or NCR Plus, as well as restrictions on children amid the threat of the highly contagious Delta variant.

According to Corinne Catibayan's report on Unang Balita on Monday, OCTA fellow Dr. Guido David said a bubble policy would allow economic activity in Metro Manila to continue unhampered and eliminate the need for a tighter lockdown classification.

“The last time we had a bubble sa NCR Plus, no’ng nagka-surge tayo, this was to keep our neighboring provinces safe from the virus and it was effective naman, hindi masyado kumalat ‘yung surge,” he said.

(The last time we had a bubble in NCR Plus, when we had a surge, this was to keep our neighboring provinces safe from the virus and it was effective, the surge didn’t spill over.)

He also said restrictions on the movement of children should be reimposed since they are not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.

“We could argue na mababa naman ‘yung fatality rate sa mga bata, mababa naman ‘yung ICU rate, [but] we’re also thinking about the long-term effects and also the fact that pwede silang maging spreaders,” David said.

(We could argue that the fatality rate and ICU rate among children is low, [but] we’re also thinking about the long-term effects and also the fact that they may be spreaders.)

In a separate interview on Super Radyo dzBB, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the Department of Health (DOH) would convene with experts on Monday to “discuss the status of NCR Plus.”

Meanwhile, infectious disease and vaccine expert Dr. Rontgene Solante expressed support for the proposal to reimpose the NCR Plus bubble.

“I think I fully agree with that until such time we get a better picture of how the situation is, especially with the cases and currently the DOH is doing the contact tracing of those directly in contact with the positive cases,” he told Unang Balita.

Solante also agreed that the movement of children should be restricted again.

“I also agree with that kasi mahirap at this point kung meron tayong reported local cases with Delta variant, siguro we have to hold the 5 years old and above na palabasin natin,” he said.

(I also agree with that because it’s difficult at this point. If we have local cases with Delta variant, I think we should hold those 5 years old and above from going outdoors.)

The government earlier allowed children aged 5 and above to go outdoors in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ. 

The DOH has reported thousands of COVID-19 cases and hundreds of deaths among the pediatric age group or those aged 0 to 19. 

The Philippines has so far detected 35 Delta variant cases, 11 of which are local.  —KBK, GMA News