MANILA - The Department of Health on Ash Wednesday urged Filipinos to pray at home after a spike in cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in South Korea was linked to church services.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque also urged clergymen to hold more Mass services to lessen crowds.
"Pag may ubo at lagnat 'wag nang magsimba. Manatili sa tahanan, dun kayo mag-face mask para di makahawa sa pamilya. Hangga't sa maaari wag makihalubilo," he told radio DZMM.
(If you have cough and fever, don't go to mass, remain at home and wear face mask so you can't infect your family. As much as possible, don't interact with other people.)
"Ang aking rekomendasyon sa Simbahang Katolika at ibang religious denomination siguro dalasan na lang muna ang paghold ng misa para ang tao dispersed, hindi nagkakatabi-tabi."
(My recommendation to the Catholic Church and other religious denominations is to hold more mass services so the crowds are dispersed.)
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) earlier told clergymen to sprinkle dry ashes on the head instead of applying wet ashes on a person's forehead in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Philippines, a predominantly Catholic nation, has 3 confirmed cases of the new strain of virus, all of which were foreigners from Wuhan, China. It has yet to record local transmission of the virus.