Quiapo Church reopens after 14-day lockdown
Robertzon Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - July 4, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines  — Quiapo Church, the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, reopened to the public yesterday following a 14-day lockdown after a visiting priest from Mindanao contracted tcoronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Masses were held yesterday at the Quiapo Church beginning at 5 a.m.

Parochial vicar Fr. Douglas Badong said the city government of Manila approved the reopening of the church.

Badong assured the public that the church has been sanitized to ensure the well-being of the Nazarene devotees.

He said they are complying with the guidelines on religious gatherings set by the national government.

Badong said priests and other church officials have tested negative for COVID-19 during antibody rapid testing.

Catholic bishops have lauded the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) for allowing religious gatherings with attendance of up to 10 percent of the church’s capacity in areas under general community quarantine.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop and apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila Broderick Pabillo said they would abide by the IATF guidelines on religious gatherings.

Under the strict enhanced community quarantine or ECQ, only 10 persons were allowed to attend masses and other religious activities.

Fr. Reginald Malicdem, chancellor of the Archdiocese of Manila, and Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco said they were happy with the decision of the IATF.

The Catholic Church was compelled to conduct virtual masses when the government imposed ECQ in Luzon in March.

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