DOH to Traslacion attendees: Mask up, don’t kiss statues

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
DOH to Traslacion attendees: Mask up, don�t kiss statues
Devotees carry carriages with a replica of the Black Nazarene during a procession near the Quiapo church in Manila on January 7, 2020, two days ahead of the annual religious procession in honour of the Black Nazarene on January 9.
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health called on devotees of the Black Nazarene to wear face masks, and refrain from touching and kissing religious figures during the return of Traslacion next week. 

Millions of devotees are expected to participate in the Traslacion, the procession of the Black Nazarene statue, on January 9. 

The parade, which is one of the world’s biggest shows of Catholic devotion, was canceled for three years due to COVID-19 concerns. 

In a release Thursday, the DOH urged devotees to wear face masks and ensure good airflow during the celebration of the Traslacion. It added that attendees should refrain from touching and kissing religious statues to prevent the transmission of communicable diseases. 

“Consider participating from home as this celebration leads to crowding that has greater health risk,” the department said. 

The agency also advised devotees to stay hydrated and avoid prolonged sun exposure to prevent dehydration and heat stroke.

Code white alert

The health department will place all hospitals in Metro Manila on code white alert starting January 6 in preparation for Traslacion. 

Code white alert is declared during holidays or celebrations that can potentially cause mass casualty incidents. Once this is activated, identified medical personnel and staff are placed on standby for immediate acceptance and treatment of incoming patients at the hospitals. 

The DOH will deploy eight health emergency response teams to provide medical services to devotees who will participate in the procession. 

The teams will be stationed along the route of Traslacion: 

  • Quirino Grandstand
  • Roxas Blvd. cor Ayala (National Museum of Fine Arts)
  • Ayala Blvd. cor Taft (Philippine Normal University)
  • Ayala Blvd. cor San Marcelino
  • San Sebastian Church with reachout
  • Villarica, Quezon Blvd.
  • Quinta Market
  • Paterno, Quezon Blvd. 

“As we celebrate this significant gathering for the annual feast of the Black Nazarene, our priority is the health and safety of all Filipinos,” Health Secretary Ted Herbosa said. 

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. declared January 9 a special non-working day in the City of Manila to mark the observance of the Traslacion. 

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