The Quiapo Church in Manila was placed on lockdown effective June 19 after a visiting priest tested positive for COVID-19.
Quiapo Church Parochial Vicar Fr. Douglas Badong said the visiting priest got his positive COVID-19 result when he took rapid and swab tests in his place of assignment in Mindanao last June 19.
“We learned his COVID-19 result last June 19, so we ordered then to immediately place Quiapo Church on lockdown,” said Badong.
Badong told CNN Philippines the visiting priest stayed in the Quiapo Church from the start of the enhanced community quarantine on March 16 up to June 13, as he was not able to go back to Mindanao due to the tight lockdown measures.
He emphasized the visiting priest took a COVID-19 rapid test in Manila last June 10, yielding a negative result. With this, the priest secured a travel pass and left Manila for Mindanao last June 13.
“We learned that from Manila, the priest had a stopover in Cagayan de Oro. So, we are not sure if the priest got the virus here or when he arrived in Mindanao,” said Badong.
When they found the visiting priest’s COVID-19 infection, Badong said all priests and staff in the Quiapo Church are in self-quarantine for 14 days as mandated by government guidelines.
Due to the lockdown, Badong said all relief giving activities of the Quiapo Church are suspended.
Badong added the around 80 priests and staff of Quiapo Church took rapid tests last June 25 and all received negative results.
The Quiapo Church Parochial Vicar assured its devotees the church is undergoing daily disinfection procedures to further avert the spread of COVID-19.
“To our devotees, we still follow protocols. To those who will go here, you must observe physical distancing,” Badong advised the devotees.
Despite the unfortunate circumstance, Badong emphasized that online masses still continue and they placed a sound system and LED wall outside the church for those devotees who want to attend their daily religious activities.
Badong said the Quiapo Church lockdown will last until July 4, observing the 14-day protocol by the government.
“We are in continuous coordination with the Manila city government if we will be allowed to open Quiapo Church to the public before July 4,” Badong added.
Quiapo Church, also known as the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, is frequently visited by Catholic devotees to pray before the miraculous image of the Black Nazarene.
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