Thousands of people are going to Manila for the 2021 Feast of the Black Nazarene, raising concerns that they could become infected with the coronavirus.
COVID-19 Concerns At Feast of the Black Nazarene
Officials Fear Feast of the Black Nazarene Will Become A Super-Spreader Event. “Although Manila’s mayor, Francisco Domagoso, broke with tradition this year and kept the icon in a church, thousands of people nonetheless arrived to pray in the surrounding streets. Security was tight, with police officers in full combat gear patrolling and reminding people about social distancing guidelines. Others carried batons as they struggled to direct the crowd.” [NY Times]
400,000 Went To Manila For Event. “The number of faithful in Quiapo for the Feast of the Black Nazarene has grown to a cumulative 400,000 as of 9:30 a.m., according to an estimate by Manila Police chief Leo Francisco. Francisco has not yet updated the figure, but added it may reach half a million by midnight. As of 9 p.m., there were still around 8,250 devotees at Quiapo, police said.” [CNN]
2.3 Million Attended 2020 Feast. “Last year, the Manila PIO said 2,371,000 people followed the” traslacion” or procession of the image of the Black Nazarene before noontime. Instead of the usual “traslacion”, a total of 15 masses will be celebrated at the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, starting at 4:30 a.m.” [Inquirer]
Philippines Has One Of The Worst Coronavirus Outbreaks in the World. “The Philippines has the second-highest number of Covid-19 cases in Southeast Asia, at more than 485,000 as of Saturday. The feast of the Black Nazarene is one of the country’s biggest annual security challenges as the faithful of Asia’s most Catholic country troop to the capital.” [SCMP]
Feast of the Black Nazarene 2021 Video
Video of people at the feast, not social distancing: