Quiapo priests, street dwellers test negative for COVID-19 -- prelate

By Gabriela Baron

A prelate said Quiapo priests and street dwellers seeking shelter inside the church all tested negative for COVID-19.

Parishioners line up to get a chance in entering the Quaipo church yesterday following the announcement of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases allowing the partial reopening of worship places. Photo by Jansen Romero (JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN)

In an interview over DZMM, Monsignor Hernando Coronel on Tuesday said Quiapo priests and street dwellers have already undergone rapid antibody testing and the results were all negative.

"Pumunta kami sa barangay, mga taga Plaza-Miranda na street dwellers, inaampon namin. 81 kami, lahat rapid test sa barangay, negative (We went to the barangay with Plaza Miranda street dwellers that we temporarily adopted. All 81 of us got rapid-tested, the results were negative)," Coronel noted.

The Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene or Quiapo Church is currently on lockdown until July 4, after a priest who stayed there for three months tested positive for the virus.

Coronel said the priest had been tested here and the result was negative, but when he returned to his diocese in Mindanao, he was tested again and both his rapid and swab tests were positive.

"Siya po ay stranded priest, so inampon po namin siya nang three months. Nagpa-rapid test sya sa barangay, negative sya. Pero pagdating doon sa kanyang diocese, natagpuan na positive siya (He was a stranded priest, so we sheltered him for three months. When he was tested in the barangay, the result was negative. But when he returned to his diocese, he was found to be positive)," he added.

As a precaution, Coronel said, they are undergoing self-quarantine while the church is being disinfected.

"So ito na 'yung ika-18th day (Today is the 18th day of our quarantine)," he said.

Catholic faithful are still not allowed to enter the church and attend masses. They may only hear masses on the screen placed outside Quiapo church.