Cebu, Philippines: Just two days after Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu tested positive for COVID-19, an elderly bishop who lived in the same residence as he has also contracted the disease.
On Saturday, February 20, the archdiocese of Cebu confirmed that retired Auxiliary Bishop Antonio Rañola has tested positive for COVID-19. It comes after he was admitted to the hospital on Friday morning for “severe coughing.”
While the 88-year-old bishop is now in a stable condition, the archdiocese says he is still under “close supervision” by medical staff. (Read: Popes Francis, Benedict XVI Receive First Dose of COVID Vaccine)
“His vital signs are stable and [he] is also under close medical supervision by his doctors,” the archdiocese said.
Bishop Rañola and Archbishop Palma are just two of the Church leaders in Cebu who tested positive for coronavirus. Another priest, Fr. Russel Sungcad who is currently assigned at the Alliance of Two Hearts Parish in the Cebu’s Banawa district, was also hospitalized for the disease.
Ever since the pandemic started, a lot of Catholic priests from around the world have fallen prey to COVID-19. As a matter of fact, by the end of the year 2020 alone, the Catholic Church has recorded a total of 167 priests who succumbed to the deadly virus.
In the Philippines, some leaders of the Catholic Church have also made headlines after they contracted COVID-19. The likes of Bishop Broderick Pabillo and Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle tested positive for the disease in July and September 2020, respectively.
Both Bishop Pabillo and Cardinal Tagle are now fully recovered and are back to their daily commitments to the Church. (Read: Pope Francis Appoints Tagle as Member of Vatican ‘Central Bank’)