By Leslie Aquino
The Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene or Quiapo Church in Manila has decided to stop using a misting tent to disinfect churchgoers.
Quiapo Church Parochial Vicar Fr. Danichi Hui said they stopped using the misting tent on Monday amid concerns regarding its possible harmful effect.
“We have stopped using our misting tent because of that,” said Hui in an interview.
“We will replace it with a UV (ultra violet) tunnel instead,” he added.
Environmental health group EcoWaste Coalition on Sunday urged the administration of Quiapo Church not to spray or mist Black Nazarene devotees with chemical disinfectant saying its continued use may do more harm than good.
The group said health scientists have clearly said that spraying the external part of the body does not kill the virus inside the body and may worsen the clinical condition of the individual infected with the coronavirus.
EcoWaste cited the guidance document published by the World Health Organization (WHO) stating that “spraying individuals with disinfectants (such as in a tunnel, cabinet, or chamber) is not recommended under any circumstances.”
It said WHO warned that “spraying individuals with chlorine and other toxic chemicals could result in eye and skin irritation, bronchospasm due to inhalation, and gastrointestinal effects such as nausea and vomiting.”
The Department of Health also does not recommend spraying or misting.
Aside from the UV, Hui said they will continue to implement other safety protocols such as hand disinfection, foot bath, and body temperature check.
He said they also conduct regular disinfection of the church once the faithful leave.
Quiapo Church resumed the public celebration of masses on June 5 but with a limited number of people.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) had earlier allowed religious gatherings but it limited the attendees to a maximum of 5 people in modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) areas, and 10 in General Community Quarantine (GCQ) areas.
Metro Manila is under GCQ.