Palace: Limits on religious mass gatherings remain
MANILA, Philippines — The government has decided to keep all prevailing restrictions on religious mass gatherings despite the easing of coronavirus lockdown rules, Malacañang said Monday.
According to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, religious leaders presented on Monday to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on how they would implement the minimum health standards imposed to prevent COVID-19 infections during masses and other religious activities.
“Nagkaroon po ng desisyon na hindi muna papayagan ang mass gatherings for religious purposes. I cannot say when mapapayagan po ‘yan pero titingnan po natin ang datos,” Roque said in a televised Palace briefing.
He added that the government will look into the COVID-19 case doubling rate in different areas as well as the localities’ critical care capacity in reviewing the prohibition on mass gatherings for religious purposes.
According to IATF’s guidelines on religious gatherings, a maximum of five people is allowed in areas under modified enhanced community quarantine and a maximum of 10 in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ).
As for areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), Roque said the IATF has yet to decide on the maximum number of people that will be allowed inside places of worship.
Religious gatherings have been immediately barred when lockdown measures were enforced in mid-March to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has already infected 18,638 people nationwide as of June 1.
Since then, the Christian-dominated Filipinos shifted to hearing online or televised Mass and religious services.
Except for Metro Manila, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon), Pangasinan, Albay, Western Visayas, Cebu City, Mandaue City, and Davao City – which are on GCQ status, the rest of the country has been declared under MGCQ starting June 1.
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