Spike in coronavirus cases anticipated after Feast of the Black Nazarene

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Medical experts warned of possible spike in COVID-19 cases after a massive crowd of devotees gathered in Quiapo church on Saturday for the Feast of the Black Nazarene.

Dr. Tony Leachon, former adviser to the COVID-19 Task Force, tweeted his worried over a possible surge as a result of the gathering, which will lead to stricter quarantine protocols.

“We know that social distancing violations will lead to increased number of cases. Our faith is not proven by physical presence only,” he said.

Department of Health adviser Dr. Edsel Salvana earlier issued a statement to devotees, urging them not to attend physical masses at Quiapo Church.

“We’re really going to need a miracle to stop a superspreader event in Quiapo right now. Please don’t go. Aren’t we supposed to watch out for each other? Putting others at risk is about as un-Christian as it gets,” Salvana said in his Twitter account.

DOH also advised those who have attended the physical masses to minimize their interactions, especially with the vulnerable members of their household, and to conduct active self-monitoring for any symptoms.

As of Saturday morning, a total of 400,000 devotees have flocked in Quiapo for the Feast of the Black Nazarene, an estimate by Manila Police chief Leo Francisco revealed. Francisco said the figure may reach a million by the end of the day. Meanwhile, the Manila government reported that around 10,690 devotees were at the area at 2 p.m.

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