NCR mayors buck cinema, arcade reopening

Metro Manila mayors will appeal to the government to reconsider its directive to allow the reopening of cinemas and video arcades in areas under general community quarantine on Feb. 15, Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez said in a radio interview on Saturday.

“We have reservations. We will likely appeal to the Inter-Agency Task Force on the reopening of cinemas,” said Olivarez, who is also the chairman of the Metro Manila Council.

He said he already spoke with Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Benhur Abalos to manifest the objection of the Metro Manila mayors given that cinemas are enclosed, air-conditioned spaces where moviegoers will gather for more than an hour.

“We are also apprehensive over the reopening video game arcades because these are enclosed spaces plus we are not yet allowing minors to go outdoors,” Olivarez said.

The government only allows persons between the ages of 18 to 65 in Metro Manila, which remains under General Community Quarantine, to leave their homes.

Make policies based on data

The OCTA Research group on Saturday urged government to adopt policies based on data as quaratine restrictions have been eased.

Dr. Butch Ong of the OCTA Research group said the government must observe trends in infection spread, particularly in Metro Manila, which the group considers as the virus epicenter.

“With the balance of more health care workers and the entry of new variants which are more transmissible, we neer to be more vigilant… We still consider the National Capital Region as the epicenter so we need to make policies and base these on data and evidence and our previous experience with COVID last year,” Ong said.

More UK variant cases recorded

The Department of Health late Friday said 19 new infections of the more contagious UK variant of the novel coronavirus have been recorded, bringing the total number of cases of the mutated strain in the country to 44.

Three of the patients were from Davao Region — a 10-year-old boy, a 54-year-old female, and a 33-year-old male.

Two were detected in Calabarzon while eight infected patients were returning overseas Filipinos.

The DOH said it is still verifying if the remaining six patients are local cases or returning overseas Filipinos as well.

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