As a vital measure to stop the surge of COVID-19 infection in Metro Manila and prevent possible deaths due to the virus, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso on Thursday signed an executive order banning all mass gatherings during the Feast of Sto. Niňo that is celebrated every January 16.
“I just signed Executive Order No. 4 series of 2022. Due to the current crisis brought by the spread of the COVID-19 virus — which is mainly attributed to close contact between and among individuals — religious procession, street parties, stage shows, parades, palarong kalye or street games, ati-atihan and other forms of public gatherings are hereby strictly prohibited,” Moreno announced during a press briefing at the Manila City Hall.
“This is one of the things we will do to continue to fight the growth of COVID-19 together and prevent our countrymen from dying,” Moreno said.
Moreno said the order affects 40 barangays in Pandacan, and almost 100 barangays in Tondo and reminded all barangay chiefs in the affected areas to strictly enforce the order.
Apart from mass gatherings, Moreno said a liquor ban would be implemented in the covered areas and warned that traders who would be caught selling alcoholic beverages during the period will have their business licenses revoked by the city government.
“I don’t have anything to drink. There will be a liquor ban that day and no one will be allowed to sell alcohol. We warn and remind all liquor sellers on that day that the Manila City government will revoke your privilege to sell,” Moreno said.
“The Manila Police District is all ready to implement this order,” he added.
Moreno also urged Sto. Niño devotees to follow the example set by the devotees of the Black Nazarene and heed the call of the city government for their own safety and the safety of their families and communities.
“I desperately need the help of our constituents to follow these simple rules that will help save each and every one of you and the safety of your families,” Moreno said.
He thanked the Sto. Niño Parish in Pandacan and the Archdiocesan Shrine of Santo Niño in Tondo for prioritizing the health of devotees and cancelling in-person Holy Mass on the day of the feast of Sto. Niño.
Moreno urged devotees to just instead watch online live-streaming of the Holy Masses on the day of the feast and pray for the salvation of their families, the country, and the world from the clutches of Covid-19.
“For us devotees of Sto. Niño, let’s just get together at home. Let’s hold hands as a family. Let’s keep believing and clinging to God, and pray for the feast of our dear Sto. Nino. And let us pray for the sick, let us pray for our families, let us be thankful for the things God has given us. Let us also pray that this pandemic will end in our city, in our country, in our world,” Moreno said.
Aksyon Demokratiko vice presidential candidate Dr. Willie Ong on Friday meanwhile admitted that he had tested positive for Omicron and shared some valuable lessons he learned on the highly-transmissible Covid-19 variant that is gripping the country.
“I have COVID, Day 2. I go live (stream) because I think, there is also a lesson and I can teach you, while those who have not been hit, can be a little more careful. What I studied at Covid was different, what you experienced was different. The book is different, the actual is different,” Ong said, in a live post on his Facebook page.
According to the 58-year-old cardiologist, internist, and philanthropist, the first thing he learned about the Omicron variant was that it is not as benign as some experts have painted it to be.
“Omicron is not mild. What you read on Google, on the internet is nonsense. It is more severe than the flu. This is my worst pain. Headache. I have a cold but a bad cough. I have phlegm, I don’t have a voice anymore,” Ong confessed.
Ong said he also experiences post-nasal drip, and difficulty in sleeping among others. While he still has his sense of smell and taste, he sometimes has no appetite.
And the symptoms come in waves, he said, describing how he seemed to recover one moment, only for the symptoms to return after a few moments, thus gradually sapping the strength of the patient.
He also warned that wearing face masks, even the more effective N95 that he always wears, is not enough to prevent the transmission of Omicron.
“I am really careful. I always have the N95. But because those with me are not on N95. You can smell those next to you, so, he will still pass. In the study, even if you are on N95, if the one with you does not have a mask, there will still be a pass,” Ong said.
When stricken with the virus, Ong advised victims to isolate themselves, drink lots of water and take over-the-counter drugs to treat the various symptoms like Paracetamol for fever, expectorants for coughs, among others, as well as vitamins. “Any brand is okay,” he pointed out.
Ong also advised patients to eat as much as possible even if they have no appetite for added energy and to refrain from getting stressed to preserve their mental health and immune system.
Since he got infected, Ong has started taking Molnupiravir, the anti-viral drug that he recommended to Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna to purchase for Covid patients in Manila.