AS the three-day activities begin for the celebration of the Feast of the Black Nazarene, the Department of Health has advised devotees to observe minimum public health standards to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infections during the religious activities.
Latest tally from the health department showed that the country recorded 580 COVID-19 cases on Friday, with the National Capital Region accounting for 178 infections of the total caseload, independent pandemic monitor Octa Research Group said in a tweet.
The DOH reminded the public, especially devotees of the Black Nazarene, to be “responsible devotees” during the religious activities intended for the feast.
Devotees are also urged to join online gatherings instead to avoid getting infected by the COVID-19 virus, the DOH said.
“The Department still encourages every Juan and Juana to celebrate through “localized” and online gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said the DOH.
In an advisory, the department encourages those who opt to participate in religious activities to observe the following protocols:
- Attend only after you have been vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19.
- Members of the vulnerable group – the elderly, the immunocompromised, and pregnant women – are encouraged to stay at home.
- Ensure that you feel, show no Covid symptoms.
- In case you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, such as fever, sore throat, cold, and coughing, it’s best to stay at home and quarantine to be safe.
- Bring extra masks for changing as well as water and an umbrella to combat the heat.
- Bring an extra pair of clothes and towels.
- Bring sanitary kits, including alcohol/sanitizer, medicines, and band-aids in case of an emergency.
- Be attentive to your surroundings and belongings to help prevent malicious activity as well as to help mitigate transmission of the virus.
Continue to employ layers of protection, which are known to be effective not only for COVID-19 but for other transmissible diseases as well, it said.
After the celebration:
- Immediately clean up yourselves by taking a bath and changing your clothes.
- Remember to also sanitize the belongings you brought from the festivity.
- Limit interaction with household members who are part of the vulnerable population for at least seven days.
- If you’ve suddenly experienced symptoms, be sure to isolate and consult with your physician for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Beginning January 7, devotees can participate in the “Pagpupugay” activity where they can wipe the image of the Black Nazarene and offer prayers. A “Walk of Faith” procession will also follow on January 8 after the Eucharistic Celebration to be presided over by Rev. Fr. Rufino Secson Jr.
In a press briefing, Quiapo officials said that volunteers and ushers will be stationed in the vicinity of the image and at the point of entry and exit, to ensure that health protocols are observed.
Banner Photo Credit: Joey O. Razon