The Department of Health (DOH) has called on the public to celebrate the Feast of the Black Nazarene at home amid the ongoing threat of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Quiapo Church and the Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC) also made the same appeal to the public.
“If possible, do not go to the Quiapo Church. We can pray as a family in our respective homes,” said Quiapo Church Reverend Monsignor Hernando M. Coronel in Filipino.
“There are also many parishes in the National Capital Region and nearby provinces that celebrate novena and fiesta masses, so we don’t really have to go to Quiapo Church,” he added.
The DOH said that the public may attend the online masses to be held hourly through the Quiapo Church’s official Facebook page.
The HPAAC said that the public should “err on the side of caution when deciding whether to attend or not, especially considering the current pandemic situation in the country.”
“It can be characterized as a superspreader event because we will have a mass gathering in the context that we are anticipating a surge [of cases], and there is also concern about the UK variant,” said HPAAC member Dr. Anna Ong-Lim.
The DOH said that those who are planning to physically attend Mass celebrations or image viewing in commemoration of the feast of the Black Nazarene advised they should strictly observe the following measures:
1. Ensure that there is proper ventilation in the place of gathering;
2. Always observe physical distancing of at least one meter when going to public or crowded places;
3. Wear face mask and face shield properly;
4. Keep your visit short (as much as possible, not exceeding 15 mins);
5. Always wash or sanitize your hands, especially after touching high-touch surfaces;
6. Follow the health protocols implemented by the Church and of the local government authorities; and
7. Cancel your travel plans if you feel any symptoms of COVID-19.
In a related development, the DOH also reported that the confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country grew to 482,083 after 1,353 new cases were detected.
Most of the new cases were found in Rizal with 63, Laguna with 62, City of Marikina with 60, Quezon City with 58, and Davao City with 54.
There were also 360 new survivors and nine fatalities, raising the tally of recoveries to 449,052 while the death toll is at 9,356.
The tally of recoveries and deaths left the number of active cases at 23,675 wherein 82.3 percent have mild symptoms, 8.4 percent are asymptomatic, 5.8 percent are in critical condition, 3.1 percent are severe, and 0.48 percent are in moderate condition.