MANILA — At least 19 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Bataan province after attending a religious gathering there, an official said Friday.
The gathering was held on 4 Sundays of July at a hotel in Balanga City, said Engr. Ernesto Vergara, the COVID-19 team chief of Abucay town.
Bataan is under MGCQ or modified general community quarantine, the least stringent lockdown level that allows religious gatherings capped at 50 percent of the capacity of a venue, he said.
There should have only been 70 people in the hotel function room booked by the religious group. A July 19 logbook, however, showed at least 100 people attended the event, said Vergara.
Out of the 19 who tested positive for the novel coronavirus after the event, 15 were from Abucay while the rest were from other towns. Twelve of them are at an isolation facility in Mariveles town, where the rest will also be confined, he said.
“Napakalakas po ng paghawa nitong COVID na galing po sa Metro Manila. Ito po ay nakuha nila sa kanilang pastor,” Vergara told ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo.
(The spread of COVID-19 from Metro Manila was very strong. The patient got it from their pastor.)
“May karapatan na sila po ay manampalataya… subalit siguro po ang pagdisiplina sa kani-kanilang mga sarili ang nagkaroon na po ng paglabag,” he added.
(They have a right to worship. However, there may have been a violation in their discipline of themselves.)
Abucay will lock down one Barangay where 11 of the patients live, said Vergara.
Authorities are confirming reports that one of the COVID-19 patients died and will continue tracing those who had close contact with them, he said.
Before the religious event, Bataan had only 10 coronavirus patients who are repatriated migrant workers. They are recovering from the disease, Vergara said.