MANILA – The Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, popularly known as Quiapo Church, has been placed under lockdown after a priest from Mindanao was tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
As precautionary measure, Rev. Fr. Douglas Badong, parochial vicar of St. John the Baptist Parish, said they decided to stop allowing devotees inside the church on June 19, the day the priest, who was not identified, had tested positive for the disease.
“So to be safe and to prevent, we stopped allowing people inside. We don’t know where he got it or the virus might is still be there. So to ensure the public is safe, we decided to close the church,” he said in an interview.
He said the priest from the southern part of the country was stranded in Manila and stayed at the Minor Basilica after the government implemented the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon last March.
Badong added that the priest left for Mindanao on June 13 and they learned he tested positive after six days.
“When he reached his destination. He was tested positive both rapid and swab tests. We found out on June 19,” he said.
He added the Quiapo Church is being disinfected and all the staff are under quarantine.
“We stopped the operations although the online mass will continue,” he said. “We continue to monitor ourselves and so far we don’t have symptoms. Last Wednesday we undergone rapid testing and all of us have tested negative.”
He said the lockdown will end on July 4.
Last Sunday, Badong said they learned the priest from Mindanao is now coronavirus free.
“We found out yesterday (Sunday) that he is already Covid free. He recovered fast based on his text message,” he said. Ferdinand Patinio / PNA – northboundasia.com