MANILA, March 12- Save the Children Philippines is calling on parents, caregivers and community leaders to take urgent precautions to prevent exposure of children to the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) due to rising cases of local transmission. The confirmed number of COVID-19 cases has reached 49 as of Wednesday.
Atty. Alberto Muyot, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children Philippines said while most confirmed cases of COVID-19 are adults with pre-existing conditions, children can still be affected by COVID19 in various ways.
“Children are being separated when their parents and caregivers are being quarantined, or when confined in hospitals,” he said.
More than 22 million children and adolescents have been missing out on school since Monday after major cities suspended classes to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The World Health Organization on Wednesday declared the novel Coronavirus outbreak as pandemic.
Schools should limit the impact of disruption to education through open, distance and online learning, said Atty. Muyot. These learning methods maintain connection with students, provide psychosocial support and avoid isolation.
Dr. Cecilia Francisco, Director of Programs of Save the Children Philippines said children seem to be escaping the worst effects of COVID-19 but they can be exposed to the potentially fatal virus when confined in hospitals and exposed to people who may have symptoms of COVID-19.
She also called on parents and caregivers to take advantage of the no-school days to spend quality time with their children at home, to play with them and read books.
“Children face stress when they miss out on school,” said Dr. Francisco. “Parents and caregivers should respond to children’s reaction in a supportive way.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) suggested steps parents, caregivers and community members can do while children are not in school due to the suspension of classes. These include:
- Monitor your child’s health and keep them home from school if they are ill
- Teach and model good hygiene practices for your children. These include washing of hands properly and practice of cough etiquette
- Encourage your children to ask questions and express their feelings with you
- Prevent stigma by using facts and reminding students to be considerate of one another
- Coordinate with the school to receive information and ask how you can support school safety efforts.