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QC allows resumption of religious activity, but strict rules face faithful

/ 12:59 AM July 11, 2020
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Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte. INQUIRER.net file photo / Noy Morcoso

MANILA, Philippines — Quezon City’s local government unit (LGU) will start allowing religious gatherings and activities starting Saturday, although strict guidelines and conditions would be observed to avoid coronavirus transmissions.

According to the Quezon City government, this is after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF) recently allowed such activities within a limited 10 percent seating capacity.

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People aged below 21 years old,  those above 60 years old, and others carrying immunodeficiency status, comorbidities, or other health risks would not be allowed to join religious ceremonies and will have to head back home.

Individuals whose temperatures would exceed 37.5 degrees Celsius would also be disallowed from entering the venue, and would be isolated within a specific location in the venue until barangay officers or health workers screen them.

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Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte, who recently revealed that she tested positive for the coronavirus, said that they are allowing religious activities in consideration of city residents’ spiritual needs.

“Kinikilala ng pamahaalang lungsod ang kahalagahan ng pananampalataya at relihiyon sa ating mga Pilipino, lalo na ngayong panahon ng pandemic,” Belmonte said.

(The city government acknowledges the importance of faith and religion among us Filipinos, especially at a time of a pandemic.)

“Hinihingi ko ang pang-unawa ng lahat dahil kailangan nating maglagay ng mahigpit na mga patakaran upang maiwasan ang anumang aberya sa hinaharap,” she added.

(I am asking for everybody’s understanding as we have to place strict measures and regulations to avoid any mishaps in the future.)

Belmonte also asked people to quickly place their face masks again should they need to put it away for a while, aside from following existing health protocols like physical distancing and avoidance of physical contact.

“Proper social distancing must also be strictly exercised in all religious venues,” Belmonte said.  “If any religious practice necessitates the removal of the face mask or face covering, this shall be done quickly and put back in place immediately.”

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The Quezon City government also asked church or temple managers to only open one passageway, which should be equipped with a thermal scanner and hand sanitizer.

The IATF recently relaxed restrictions for religious activities in areas placed under the general community quarantine — including Metro Manila — on Friday.

Meanwhile, places under a modified general community quarantine enjoys a much-eased restriction allowing 50 percent seating capacity.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, however, warned the faithful that they can still be barred from churches should there be a “visible threat” of coronavirus disease 2019 transmission.

As of Friday, the country has 52,914 confirmed COVID-19 cases, of which 1,360 patients have died while 13,230 have recovered. Jim Mendoza / trainee

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TAGS: 2019 Novel Coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, COVID-19, GCQ, general community quarantine, lockdown, Mayor Joy Belmonte, Metro, nCoV update, Philippine news updates, Quezon City, Quezon City local government, religious activities, religious practices
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