MANILA — The Department of Health on Thursday urged the public to just stay at home instead of visiting Quiapo Church for the Feast of the Black Nazarene.
The call was supported by the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene (Quiapo Church) and the Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC).
In a joint press release, they said that despite the cancellation of the yearly Traslacion, devotees were still flocking to the church to view the image of the Black Nazarene.
While preparations are already being made by the church and the local government of Manila to prevent crowding and the spread of COVID-19, Reverend Monsignor Hernando M. Coronel was quoted as saying that those are just contingency measures.
“Kung maaari po, hindi tayo dumagsa sa simbahan ng Quiapo. Kung maaari tayo ay magdasal bilang isang pamilya sa loob ng ating mga tahanan,” he said in the release.
(If possible, let us not go to the Quiapo church. We can just pray with our family in our homes.)
Coronel also pointed out that there are other parishes in the National Capital Region and nearby provinces that are holding novena and fiesta masses.
Dr. Anna Ong-Lim of HPAAC warned that the crowding of people for the Feast of the Black Nazarene might be a superspreader event, something that should be prevented from happening especially with the concerns that the new and more transmissible COVID-19 variant has entered the country.
The DOH also urged families to just attend the online masses streamed live on Quiapo Church’s Facebook page.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III also asked Filipinos to continue following health standards such as the wearing of face masks and face shields, constant sanitizing of hands, and physical distancing.
The DOH also reminded the public to ensure proper ventilation and to keep their visit short.