Hundreds of thousands still flocked to Quiapo in Manila from Saturday morning to celebrate the feast of the Black Nazarene despite the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019.
In an radio interview, Manila Police District director Brig. Gen. Leo Francisco said that there were over 300,000 devotees before 8 a.m. along Quezon Boulevard and another 100,000 devotees gathered along Palanca Street.
“Continuous yung pagdating ng tao, ‘yun ang nakikita namin. At ‘yun ngang social distancing na one meter… na-occupy na kasi ang Quezon Boulevard at sa Palanca (The people are continuously coming in from what we have seen. And with the one-meter social distancing, Quezon Boulevard and Palanca were already occupied),” he said.
“Kaya sabi ko sa control points higpitan na ang pagpapasok ng tao, pakiusapan na sila na ‘wag nang pumasok dito sa area na ito dahil mahirap na i-maintain ang physical distancing (So I said that at the control points, the entry of people must be strictly controlled, and we are requesting them that they won’t enter the area because it is hard to maintain physical distancing),” he added.
On Friday, Domagoso asked Black Nazarene devotees to just stay home and watch the live Masses from their homes as the Covid-19 threat remains.
“Muli nananawagan ako, hangga’t maaari, please stay home. Manalangin tayo ng taimtim sa kanya-kanyang mga bahay as much as possible (Please, as much as possible, please stay home. Let us say our most heartfelt prayer to Him inside our homes),” Domagoso said.
He also reminded the people to observe at all times the minimum public health safety protocols such as the wearing of a face mask, face shield, and safe physical distancing.
The City of Manila suspended work and classes and imposed a liquor ban to make way for the Black Nazarene feast.Domagoso also said that all vehicles inside the vicinity of the Quiapo Church will be towed unless they are authorized. SOVEREIGNPH