DOH reiterates call for Black Nazarene devotees to opt for virtual masses
MANILA, Philippines — Following reports of alleged crowding in areas during the celebration of the Feast of the Black Nazarene on Saturday, the Department of Health (DOH) reiterated calls for devotees to just attend online Masses to avoid contracting the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“The DOH has repeatedly called on the public to strictly observe MPHS (Minimum Public Health Standards) and just attend mass online. For all those who attended the Traslacion, it would be best, lalo na kung may kakayanan ang kanilang tahanan at kung may vulnerable household member sila, na humiwalay na muna ng kwarto and to minimize the interaction (umiwas sa paglabas at pakikisalamuha sa iba),” the DOH said.
(The DOH has repeatedly called on the public to strictly observe MPHS (Minimum Public Health Standards) and just attend mass online. For all those who attended the Traslacion, it would be best, especially if they can and if they have vulnerable household members, to isolate in a different room and to minimize interaction. [They should] also avoid going out, mingling with other people.)
“Hindi rin nagbabago ang gaming abiso noon, kung may mararamdaman sila, dapat ay agad silang makipag ugnayan sa kanilang BHERT (Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams),” the health department added.
(Our advice is still the same, if they are starting to feel something, they should immediately coordinate with their BHERT or Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams.)
The statement comes after Health Secretary Francisco Duque III flagged circulating photos and reports of the crowding around the Quiapo Church. DOH said the issue was already raised to the Office of Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso.
“Per the report of the Manila City Hall, photos of flocking were as early this morning but authorities were quick to disperse said flocks and ensure strict implementation of physical distancing from outside of the Quiapo Church up until Espana [Boulevard] and other roads,” DOH said in a separate statement.
DOH added that they are in close coordination with the local government of Manila to monitor the situation.
No procession this year
Instead of the usual Traslacion, or the grand procession of the image of the Black Nazarene, a total of 15 masses will be celebrated at Quiapo Church, starting at 4:30 a.m.
Only 400 persons, however, will be accommodated per mass.
Quiapo Church Rector Msgr. Hernando Coronel on Friday also urged devotees to join online Masses and stay at home with their families instead to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Manila Police District (MPD) reported that as of 2 p.m., there are 10,690 devotees left in Quiapo.
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For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.
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