Tagle on COVID-19: You feel youâre a threat
STAR/ File
Tagle on COVID-19: You feel you’re a threat
Robertzon Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - September 26, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — What could have been a quiet vacation for former Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle became international news when he tested positive for COVID-19 on Sept. 10.

From his experience, Tagle said he realized that COVID-19 patients should have a great sense of interconnectedness, as it is not only the virus that will destroy their body, but also their emotional state.

“This experience of quarantine and all the fear and everything and also the anxiety… getting out of quarantine I realized that really, for you to survive, you need a deep sense of interconnectedness,” he said.

“Your enemy will be the feeling that you are isolated, that you are a threat now, that you don’t even trust yourself, that you are a danger to yourself, could be a danger to others,” he added.

In his speech during the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) Congress online, Tagle said that he intentionally came home silently so that nobody would notice him during his arrival.

But he said everything went awry when he tested positive for COVID-19.

Now Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Tagle said that when he first left, he deemed himself an overseas Filipino worker, “but am now not only an OFW, but a COVID survivor as well.”

Before leaving Rome, Tagle had undergone a COVID-19 test on Sept. 7, which turned out negative. He tested positive upon his arrival in Manila from Rome on Sept. 10 and was cleared of the virus on Wednesday after his 14-day quarantine.

Tagle is the first head of a Vatican dicastery that tested positive for the disease.

He said that he decided to spend a short vacation, which is part of the summer break of every Vatican employee, in the Philippines this month to attend the 90th birthday of his mother.

Tagle said that he is grateful to a lot of people who have expressed their prayers and concern for him during his quarantine, sending positive vibes to beat the virus.

In his speech during the CEAP Congress, Tagle reminded the people of the importance of dialogue of faith and life and culture beyond creed, borders and COVID-19.

“I will say because of the situation right now in the world, we need the culture of dialogue because of the borders. Because of the physical, economic, educational and even religious borders that had become wider, more treacherous,” he said.

He also emphasized that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, people are required to come up with a general and collaborative response, which means breaking barriers that set apart every nation and race.

He said that the pandemic will just continue to worsen if there are still those barriers.

“Look what is happening internationally, instead of dialogue… the issue is politicized,” he said, such that you no longer know whom to believe – scientists, doctors, politicians, NGOs, etc.

“How you wish that they could sit down, share the truth that they have discovered and if everyone is unsure, then at least dialogue on the level of uncertainty and share the common uncertainty. And that is already a big step towards a general response,” he added. –With Emmanuel Tupas

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