Archbishop, 171 others in quarantine over Covid-19

NAGA CITY --- Archbishop Rolando J. Tria Tirona, OCD of the Archdiocese of Caceres has already quarantined himself as part of precautionary measures for returning Filipinos from countries with Covid-19 cases, a church official said.

To recall, the Caceres Archbishop together with 171 pilgrims consisting of members of the clergy and private individuals travelled to Jerusalem, Israel on Mar. 1 for the unveiling of the “Ama Niamo” (the Lord’s Prayer in Bicol) at the Pater Noster Church in the Mountain of Olives in Jerusalem, Israel on Mar. 4.

The Bikol’s version of the Lord’s Prayer is written in a ceramic marker, which is already blessed and installed at the church’s cave.

Pater Noster Church is popular for numerous ceramic markers, showing the Lord’s Prayer in multiple languages, including dead languages such as the Nahuatl of the Aztecs, now Mexicans after Spanish conquest.

Tirona led the blessing and pilgrimage in the Holy Land prior to the imposition of restrictions imposed by Israeli government on visiting tourists to minimize the effect of the novel corona virus (COVID-19).

Sr. Mylen Yalega, assistant secretary to the secretary of the Archbishop confirmed to Bicol Mail that Tirona already quarantined himself and was not available to face the press.

Yalega said the archbishop was not in the palace since last week of February and came back last Mar. 8, Sunday.

In an interview, Naga City health officer Dr. Vito Borja II, clarified that of the 172 pilgrims, 98 already arrived last Saturday. The remaining 74 are expected to arrive today.

He said his staff already conducted medical check up on the first batch of 98 pilgrims who already arrived in Naga and the specimens were already sent to the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Alabang, Muntinlupa City.

Borja said that there are more pilgrims who will arrive in Naga from Israel.

He urged these individuals to quarantine themselves for 14 days upon their arrival.

Bicolanos should temporarily postpone their trips to Israel especially this coming Lenten season in view of the Covid-19 outbreak there, Borja said.

Last week, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) supported the call of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for Filipino Catholics to postpone their pilgrimage in the Holy Land in relation to the threat of COVID-19.