Cebu archbishop, 70, tests positive for COVID-19
CEBU CITY—Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma tested positive for the new coronavirus disease, the Catholic Archdiocese here announced on Friday.
According to Msgr. Joseph Tan, spokesperson of the Archdiocese of Cebu, Palma was confined on Thursday at the Perpetual Succour Hospital, the Catholic-run tertiary hospital in the city, and was found to have COVID-19 in a test conducted after his confinement.
Before he was brought to the hospital, Palma “felt weak and had a cough,” Tan told reporters on Friday.
People who have been in close contact with the archbishop have been informed about the matter and would undergo the required contact-tracing health protocols, said Tan.
The prelate’s household at the Archbishop’s Residence, composed of about 10 persons, mainly nuns and priests, underwent reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test as part of the protocol, Tan added.
“The archbishop remains in stable condition. Let us all pray for his steady and speedy recovery,” he added.
Palma, a native of Dingle, Iloilo, was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to lead the Archdiocese of Cebu in January 2011.
The 70-year-old Palma replaced the late Cardinal Ricardo Vidal who retired in 2011 after serving the archdiocese for 29 years. Vidal died in 2017.
Palma became the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines before he chose to forego reelection to focus on the preparations for the International Eucharistic Congress that was held in Cebu City in January 2016.
Palma is currently leading the preparations for this year’s 500th anniversary of the Christianization of the Philippines. —NESTLE SEMILLA AND DALE ISRAEL
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