Traslacion suspended anew due to COVID-19

Ghio Ong - The Philippine Star
Traslacion suspended anew due to COVID-19
People walk in front of Quiapo Church, which suspended next year’s Black Nazarene procession, yesterday.
Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines — For the second straight year, the traslacion – a procession featuring the 400-year-old image of the Black Nazarene – would be suspended as COVID-19 still poses a threat to the public, the city government of Manila declared yesterday.

However, a motorcade in selected areas in the city will replace the centuries-long tradition that has drawn millions of devotees every Jan. 9, according to the city public information office.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, believers would scramble to touch the image or pull the rope leading to the carriage transporting the image during the procession, which would start at the Quirino Grandstand and end in Quiapo Church.

Officials of Quiapo Church, led by parochial vicar Fr. Douglas Badong, and the city government arrived at the decision during a meeting last Thursday.

Badong said the church would also hold replica visitations to different provinces, replica blessings and several masses in lieu of the procession.

A minimum of 8,000 police officers will be deployed during the Black Nazarene feast, according to the Manila Police District.

Such arrangements would be implemented for as long as Metro Manila remains under Alert Level 2, the city government said.

Church and city officials will meet again to discuss possible changes if a higher alert level is imposed on the region.

This year’s traslacion was also suspended but devotees continued to flock to the church. They were required to wear a face mask and shield and observe social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Baricitinib available

Meanwhile, the city government said residents with moderate to severe COVID-19 may avail themselves of Baricitinib tablets.

Mayor Isko Moreno and Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna yesterday received 6,600 tablets of the anti-COVID drug, according to the city’s public information office.

The treatment would be available in six hospitals run by the city government – Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center, Justice Jose Abad Santos General Hospital, Ospital ng Maynila, Ospital ng Tondo, Ospital ng Sampaloc and Sta. Ana Hospital – and in the Manila COVID-19 Field Hospital at the Quirino Grandstand, it noted.

The Food and Drug Administration has authorized Baricitinib, available in two-milligram and four-mg tablets, for emergency use for COVID-19 treatment.

According to the Department of Health, Baricitinib – supposedly used to cure moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis in adult patients – was recommended to be used “in combination with remdesivir in hospitalized COVID-19 patients requiring oxygen supplementation and who take corticosteroids.”

Last Tuesday, Moreno, who is running for president, and his running mate Dr. Willie Ong received 40,000 capsules of another COVID-19 drug, Molnupiravir, supplied by Faberco Life Sciences Inc. – Robertzon Ramirez


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