Bacolod churches suspend masses

Gilbert Bayoran (The Philippine Star) - September 4, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The holding of masses in Catholic churches in Bacolod City was suspended for 12 days starting yesterday in a bid to help flatten the curve of coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 infection.

“Funeral masses and celebrations of the sacraments shall continue provided that only 10 persons will participate and existing health protocols will be strictly observed,” Bishop Patricio Buzon said.

Bacolod City remains under general community quarantine, but health experts said it should revert to stricter modified enhanced community quarantine  (MECQ) to arrest the spike in infections.

Doctors’ groups said the city should be placed under ECQ for two weeks, noting that some hospitals have reached full capacity for COVID cases and many of their healthcare workers and frontliners have been confined or quarantined due to the virus.

Mayor Evelio Leonardia said a home quarantine pass system and checkup points would be implemented from Sept. 6 to 19 to augment minimum health protocols.

BARMM exec, employees infected

In the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), Health Minister Saffrullah Dipatuan, his wife and three regional government employees tested positive for COVID-19.

Dipatuan said he and his wife were confined in a COVID-19 facility at the Amai Pakpak Hospital in Marawi City.

The two-story BARMM building in Cotabato City, where BARMM chief minister Ahod Ebrahim holds office, was indefinitely closed for disinfection.

In Nueva Vizcaya, board member Eunice Galima-Gambol tested positive for the virus yesterday.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan building was disinfected while officials and employees underwent swab testing.

The border between Solano and Bayombong was closed even as operations of public utility vehicles in the two towns were suspended.

Solano accounts for 47 of the 67 active cases in Nueva Vizcaya. Twelve were exposed to an infected health worker during sessions in a gym.

Elderly center

In Zamboanga City, 29 senior citizens in an elderly center run by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Barangay Talon-Talon were infected.

Fatima Caminan, DSWD-Zamboanga peninsula acting director, said one of the house parents initially tested positive for the virus.

Caminan said the patients were transferred to an isolation ward. – Raymund Catindig, John Unson, Roel Pareño

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