DOH: Church choirs may spread COVID-19

The Department of Health (DOH) warned Friday that church choirs could spread COVID-19 as churches prepare for masses.

“Isa ‘yan sa dapat mapag-aralan at mapagsabihan rin of course ang ating mga kaparian at ating mga simbahan that this might be a cause of spreading the virus as well,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a virtual media forum.

However, Vergeire that some choirs follow social distancing. She added choir singers should not face each other while singing to avoid transmissions.

“They are all facing towards one direction, hindi sila harap-harap. Although I am not saying na hindi posible ang transmission pero mas nagkakaroon ng limit ang pagtransmit ng virus,” she said.

“But this is still a venue for the transmission of the virus, and we will be, siguro mas magkakaroon tayo ng advisories sa ating mga simbahan (maybe we will issue advisories to churches) regarding this matter,” Vergeire added.

Last week, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines () released adjustments to the traditional celebration of the Misa de Gallo or  amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

CBCP president and Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, who signed the guidelines, said the Simbang Gabi might start as early as 6 pm for the anticipated mass, while the morning mass could begin at 6 am.

DOH: Church choirs may spread COVID-19

Churches were also instructed to coordinate with local government units to conduct more Simbang Gabi masses in large venues to accommodate more people and, at the same time, observe physical distancing.

The Vigil Mass of may be celebrated from 6 pm on Christmas Eve, the CBCP said.

CBCP added the dawn mass of may also be celebrated in the early morning of December 25.

They also urged families to bring their family image of the infant Jesus during Simbang Gabi since kissing or touching images is still not allowed.

DOH also discouraged the public from using torotot or the traditional yuletide revelry horn for and New Year celebrations.

In a video message for ’s campaign, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III urged the public to use firecrackers alternatives such as vehicle horns and drums.