COVID-19 guidelines issued for Filipino priests in Rome

Published March 5, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Christina Hermoso

With the rising cases of deaths and incidence of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Italy, the Pontificio Collegio Filipino in Rome has issued guidelines and safety measures against the viral disease.

Rev. Fr. Gregory Ramon Gaston, rector of the Pontificio Collegio Filipino and coordinator for the Pastoral Care of the Overseas Filipino Community in Italy said, the guidelines are meant to help prevent further spread of the disease which has claimed 107 lives in Italy and afflicted 3,089 individuals to date.

The Pontificio is the official residence of Filipino priests doing further studies in Rome.

“As we live in a community, every member is obliged to consider how his exposure would affect the rest of the community. This includes diligence in all personal sanitary procedures, decisions about travel and obedience to any restrictions or quarantines should they occur,” Fr. Gaston said in his guidelines.

The priest said, preventive measures against COVID-19 call for individuals to remain in good health to resist sickness: get plenty of sleep and remain hydrated. Avoid travelling to the areas with known infections and crowded areas. Avoid unnecessary travels if possible. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. Facemasks should be worn by people with symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

Gaston stressed, it is important to be aware of the symptoms of the disease to avoid spreading the virus. If you develop symptoms that include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, isolate yourself in your room and inform the rector about your condition. Refrain from going to the common areas. Do not seek treatment on your own outside the Collegio. The city of Rome has instructed that testing would take place in one location to which you would be directed. Further decisions on treatment and/or isolation will then be made.

Don’t go to the hospital otherwise you might infect others (or vice-versa). Instead, the Italian health authority will come to check you.

“The community will comply with any civilly mandated restrictions on gatherings and travel. Any failure to comply could result in quarantine within or outside the house. This would include all activities outside the Collegio including masses with the Filipino communities and other religious communities. Individual priests are responsible in checking some updates as indicated by the dioceses in their respective websites,” Gaston said.

“During the daily celebration of the Liturgy, it is recommended that we use some other gestures/signs of peace giving instead of the usual handshake. Further, holy water fonts will be emptied with holy water until further notice,” he added.