Quiapo Church in Manila was placed on lockdown after a visiting priest tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
According to Quiapo Church Parochial Vicar Fr. Douglas Badong, the visiting priest got his positive COVID-19 result when he took rapid and swab tests in Mindanao on June 19. Once they got the news, they immediately placed Quiapo Church on lockdown.
Badong said that the visiting priest stayed in the church from March 16 up to June 13 when he was not able to go back to Mindanao due to the tight lockdown measures and restrictions to travel. When the priest took a COVID-19 rapid test in Manila on June 10, the results came back negative and he was able to leave for Mindanao on June 13. (Read: What’s the difference between the PCR and the Rapid Test Kits?)
“We learned that from Manila, the priest had a stopover in Cagayan de Oro. So, we are not sure if the priest got the virus here or when he arrived in Mindanao,” Badong said. (Read: Here’s what you can expect on 2020 weddings, baptisms, Sunday Masses)
All priests and staff of the Quiapo Church are in self-quarantine for 14 days as per government rules. All relief giving activities of the Quiapo Church is suspended as well.
Around 80 priests and staff of Quiapo Church took rapid tests on June 25 and all had negative results, Badong added. As another safety measure, the church is undergoing daily disinfection procedures to avert the possible spread of COVID-19. (Read: Catholic Church to Implement Contact Tracing in Parishes)
As of the moment, the Church is closed down to devotees but online masses will still continue. A sound system and LED wall are placed outside the church for those who want to attend daily religious activities. Badong advised the devotees to still observe physical distancing and follow safety protocols. (Read: ‘Strict social distancing’ shall be observed during Mass – CBCP)
The Quiapo Church lockdown will last until July 4 but they are in continuous coordination with the Manila city government for the earlier reopening.
Quiapo Church, also known as the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, is frequently visited by Catholic devotees to pray before the miraculous image of the Black Nazarene.