To curb the upward trajectory of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases in Manila, Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso has ordered that all Holy Week activities in the city be suspended.
The religious holiday commemorated by Catholics—which starts on March 29 this year—traditionally includes rituals and customs such as the penitensya, Visita Iglesia, and caridad. Due to the recent increase in Covid-19 cases in Manila, Domagoso said it was only logical to prevent large public gatherings that could easily turn into superspreader events.
“What is important during HolyWeek is our relationship with Jesus Christs, and we commemorate how he paid for our sins,” Domagoso said in Filipino.
The mayor added that the city can’t afford to take any more chances because its six district hospitals—the Ospital ng Sampaloc, Sta. Ana Hospital, Ospital ng Maynila, Gat Andres Bonifacio Medical Center, Justice Abad Santos Memorial Medical Hospital, and Ospital ng Tondo—were already experiencing the strain.
He added that as of Saturday afternoon, the occupancy rate in those hospitals was 55 percent from 27 to 32 percent previously.
Domagoso said that the City Government of Manila will continue to strictly enforce health protocols and implement granular lockdowns. In fact, this week, six barangays are under a four-day lockdown: Barangay 185 Zone 16 (Tondo 2); Barangay 374 Zone 38 (Sta. Cruz); Barangay 521 Zone 52 (Sampaloc); Barangay 628 Zone 63 (Sta. Mesa); Barangay 675 Zone 74 (Paco); and Barangay 847 Zone 92 (Pandacan).
“If you violate the lockdown we put you in a quarantine facility and you need to be tested,” the mayor said.
In light of this, Domagoso said that, as much as possible, he didn’t want to implement a citywide lockdown. He reminded the public not to believe any of the rumors or fake news alleging that the entire City of Manila will be on lockdown.
The mayor added, though, that if ever there is a need to implement a citywide lockdown then he won’t hesitate to do it.