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Duque prays for more Mass services

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, anxious over possible coronavirus infections in churches in predominantly Christian Philippines, suggested more Mass services to lessen crowds and social interaction.

Duque prays for more Mass services
NEW GUIDELINES. The Catholic faithful wear masks as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus to receive the ash. Norman Cruz 
Latest figures showed more than 80,000 patients have been infected globally, with the death toll climbing up to near 3,000.

The World Health Organization has called it a global health emergency but has declined to use the label “pandemic,” a term used when a disease takes hold in multiple regions and spreads rampantly within communities. 

But the dramatic spread in South Korea, Iran, and Italy has stoked fears that COVID-19 could reach pandemic status. 

READ: Ash Wednesday spooked by coronavirus

Duque also exhorted those with cough and fever, not to go to Mass, remain at home and wear a face mask.

In this way, he said they could not infect their family. “As much as possible, don’t interact with other people.”

As the nation observed Ash Wednesday, Duque called on  Filipinos to pray at home after a spike in cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in South Korea was linked to church services.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines earlier told clergymen to sprinkle dry ashes on the head instead of applying wet ashes on a person’s forehead to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

READ: DOH sets purchase of anti-viral drug from China

The Philippines, a predominantly Catholic nation of 106 million, has three confirmed cases of the new strain of virus, all of which were foreigners from Wuhan, China. It has yet to record local transmission of the virus.

Meanwhile, the DOH said three more patients under investigation (PUIs) for the COVID-19 were now admitted to hospitals nationwide.

The DOH’s  PUI tracker showed the number of admitted patients monitored for the deadly virus increased from 98 to 101, as of noon Wednesday.

The record also showed 501 PUIs were discharged from hospitals after they tested negative for the virus which makes the total number of patients checked at 614.

Duque prays for more Mass services
NEW GUIDELINES. Devotees receive ash on their heads, unlike the usual cross on the forehead, during the observance of Ash Wednesday at the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Intramuros, Manila. AFP
The breakdown of persons observed for the deadly virus per region: Metro Manila – 86 admitted, 116 discharged, 2 confirmed cases, 1 mortality.

Calabarzon – 4 admitted, 75 discharged

Central Visayas – 3 admitted, 58 discharged, 1 confirmed case

Central Luzon – 2 admitted, 60 discharged

Western Visayas – 0 admitted, 38 discharged

Cagayan Valley – 1 admitted, 35 discharged

Cordillera Administrative Region – 2 admitted, 26 discharged 

Davao Region – 0 admitted, 23 discharged

Eastern Visayas – 0 admitted, 18 discharged

Northern Mindanao – 1 admitted, 16 discharged

Mimaropa – 0 admitted, 15 discharged

Bicol Region – 0 admitted, 13 discharged

Ilocos Region – 1 admitted, 11 discharged

Soccsksargen – 1 admitted, 2 discharged

Caraga – 0 admitted, 3 discharged

BARMM – 0 admitted, 1 discharged

The number of confirmed COVID-19 globally increased from  77,794  to more than 80,000 cases. 

Of the total, 77,658 cases are from mainland China, the hardest-hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

Topics: Francisco Duque III , death toll , coronavirus , World Health Organization
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