President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday revoked an order by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases that allowed children aged 10 to 14 years old to go outside their homes in areas with relaxed quarantine measures.

Duterte said precaution was necessary as the threat of the new and more infectious UK coronavirus strain now looms in the country.

“Iyong restrictions na lifting the age of 10 to 14 age group sa [modified general community quarantine] areas na palabasin na ‘yung mga 10 to 14, I am compelled [to rescind it],” he said in a late-night address.

“It has nothing to do with their incompetence, not at all — ang akin is a precaution because there is or there was or is strain discovered in the Cordillera na ‘yung that is very similar to the strain dito sa United Kingdom,” he added.

The president said he was afraid that children could contract the new coronavirus variant.

“Takot lang ako kasi itong bagong strain strikes the young children. Itong original na Covid, hardly if at all, na wala kang marinig na may bata. Mayroon one or two and you can count it by the fingers of your hands kung ilan ang bata na tinamaan,” he said.

The now-rescinded IATF order stated that said any person below 10 years old and those who are over 65 would be required to remain in their residence “at all times.”

Previously, only those aged 15 to 65 years were allowed to go out.

The B117 SARS-CoV-2 variant, also known as the UK variant, was detected from the samples of a Filipino male who arrived in the Philippines from the United Arab Emirates last Jan 7.

The Philippines has 513,619 Covid-19 cases as of Jan. 26. John Ezekiel J. Hirro