Davao City cancels feast of Sto. Niño masses at Shrine Hills

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 13 Jan) – The celebration of the feast of Sto. Niño on January 15 at the Shrine of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague at the Shrine Hills in Matina will no longer push through as Davao City has been seeing record-hitting coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases due to the post-holiday surge.

Sto. Niño devotees at the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague chapel in in Shrine Hills, Matina, Davao City. Mindanews file photo

Angel Sumagaysay, head of the Public Safety and Security Command Center (PSSCC), said in a text message Wednesday that the local government cancelled the Holy Masses upon the suggestion of a group of infectious disease specialists in the city, as hundreds of pilgrims are expected to flock the shrine for the annual tradition.

On Sunday, Sumagaysay said only 100 persons will be allowed in every mass at the Shrine Hills. He said there would be five masses which will be held at two-hour intervals. But these were cancelled and the Shrine will be restructed tot he public on Fritay.

As of January 12, the Department of Health (DOH)-Davao Region reported 268 new cases, bringing the total cases to 14,276, with 2,310 active, 11,379 recoveries, and 586 deaths in the region.

Out of the total, Davao City, which reported the highest COVID-19 cases in Mindanao, tallied 9,863 cases, with 1,345 active, 8,053 recoveries, and 465 deaths.

Davao de Oro reported 698 cases, Davao del Norte with 1,864, Davao del Sur with 1,067, Davao Occidental with 164, and Davao Oriental with 619.

Dr. Ashley Lopez, Davao City Health COVID-19 focal person, said during his live interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) that health authorities have observed the start of post-holiday surge last January 7, with new cases seen at over 100 daily.

He said that they expect the surge to continue until mid-February. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)