Manila halts Holy Week activities as COVID-19 cases surge

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 19 2021 03:56 PM | Updated as of Mar 19 2021 08:39 PM


MANILA - Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso on Friday suspended all Holy Week activities in the capital city due to the rising number of new COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila.

The capital city is home to several Catholic churches, which devotees visit through the Holy Week. 

"Ang importante sa Semana Santa, 'yung relasyon natin sa Diyos sa panahon kung saan siya nagbayad ng dugo para sa ating mga kasalanan. Magnilay-nilay tayo," the mayor said.

(Our relationship with God is what is important during the Holy Week when we remember that he gave his blood to save us from our sins. We should reflect.)

The city government had to impose stricter control over activities that would draw large crowds as Manila's 6 district hospitals have reached a 55-percent occupancy rate, nearly 2 times fuller than the numbers in January, the mayor said.

As of March 18, the following barangays in the capital city have been placed on a 4-day lockdown:

  •  Barangay 185 Zone 16 (Tondo 2)
  •  Barangay 374 Zone 38 (Sta. Cruz)
  •  Barangay 521 Zone 52 (Sampaloc)
  •  Barangay 628 Zone 63 (Sta. Mesa)
  •  Barangay 675 Zone 74 (Paco)
  •  Barangay 847 Zone 92 (Pandacan)

"Mabigat sa loob ko 'yung hirap na inaabot ng tao sa lockdown. But we are sure about our rules," the mayor said.

(It is difficult for me to impose the lockdown because people are having a hard time. But we are sure about our rules.)

"Kung kinakailangan maprotektahan naman ang general population, tayo po ay hindi mangingiming mag-lockdown," he said.

(If we need to protect our general population, we will not hesitate to impose a lockdown.)

Meanwhile, the Luneta Park and Paco Park in Manila will still be open on limited hours for people who would like to exercise, the Department of Tourism said.

The parks will be open only from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., and will only allow visitors aged 18 to 65, according to information from the National Parks Development Committee.

All park goers are expected to don face masks and face shields, the Committee said.

The Philippines recorded 7,103 new COVID-19 patients on March 18, the highest single-day tally in the country since the pandemic began last year.

- with a report from Johnson Manabat, ABS-CBN News

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