A Catholic bishop in the Philippines warned against what he described as “political expediency” over public safety amid fears concerning the spread of the novel coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said the “common good and the safety of the people should be the primary consideration of governments and institutions, not political expediencies.”
He also warned against profiteering over the over the growing hysteria caused by reports of the possible spread of the virus.
Philippine health officials announced on Feb. 5, that a 60-year-old Chinese woman has been confirmed as the country’s third case of coronavirus.
The Health Department said the patient has already returned to China on Jan. 31 after initial tests found that she tested negative for the virus.
A later test of samples taken from the patient, however, found that she had the virus when she was in the Philippines.
The Health Department said there are also some cases in China wherein patients eventually tested negative even after initially testing positive for coronavirus.
Bishop Pabillo said the public deserves to know “true and timely” information about the spread of the virus, the deaths caused by it, and even reports of those who have recovered.
“We need not only bad news but also good news, and the latter also abound,” said the Manila bishop.
“It is important that information is given about the initiatives being taken to show solidarity and concern to all,” he said.
Bishop Pabillo also called for prayer and charity, and warned against discrimination of those who are suspected of having the virus.
“All through history, we have seen that plagues have been stopped not only through medical means but also through prayers and great acts of charity,” he said.
He said urged the faithful to help others “to spread proper information, to extend our hands — and our pockets — in charity, and to lift up our hearts in prayer.”
“Wherever we are, in whatever state of life, in sickness and in health, we all can pray,” added the bishop.
“Let us implore the Heavenly Power to protect us, to stem the spread of the disease, to cure the infected, to receive the souls of those who have died and to comfort the bereaved,” he added.
The Philippines reported the first coronavirus death outside China on Feb. 2.
As of Feb. 5, China reported a total of 563 deaths and 28,018 confirmed cases of the virus with 3,694 new confirmed cases.