President Rodrigo Duterte has recalled an order allowing the Department of Education to pilot face-to-face classes in January in wake of concerns over a new strain of coronavirus.
Experts fear the mutant Covid-19 first detected in the United Kingdom is more contagious than the original.
“I am calling back the order and I will not allow face-to-face classes for children,” Duterte said during a televised meeting with Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on COVID-19 on Satrurday night.
Duterte on December 14 approved the conduct of a dry run of face-to-face classes in some schools located in areas with low coronavirus risk.
“We have to know the nature of the germ we are confronting. We don’t know anything and I cannot take the risk of allowing the children. That would be a disaster actually,” he said.
Duterte said he would order Education Secretary Leonor Briones “to suspend all activities of children, especially…face-to-face classes.”
Duterte gave the latest directive after a new strain of Covid-19, which was allegedly more infectious, has been detected in the United Kingdom (UK) and has already been reported in other neighboring countries like Malaysia.
In his meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) and infectious diseases experts, Duterte said he could not put the lives of learners at risk.
“I have allowed the face-to-face classes as pilot projects all over the country,” he said. “I’m calling back the order and I will not allow face-to-face classes of children until we are through with this. We have to, I said, we have to know the nature of the germ that we are confronting. Wala pa tayong alam (We know nothing yet). I cannot take the risk of allowing the children.” READ MORE