Archbishop Florentino Lavarias of San Fernando in the province of Pampanga has contracted the new coronavirus disease, the archdiocese said on Sunday, February 28.
The archbishop “tested positive of COVID-19 today,” read a circular issued by Father Francis Dizon, the archdiocese’s vicar general.
“Let us all pray for his steady and speedy recover,” said the priest, adding that the people who have been in close contact with the archbishop “have been duly informed about the matter.”
The 63-year old prelate, who is vice chairman of the bishops’ Commission on Clergy, was in stable condition, said Father Dizon.
Archbishop Lavarias contracted the virus as two other bishops recovered from the disease.
Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu and retired Auxiliary Bishop Antonio Rañola, also of Cebu, have been cleared of the virus and are back in their residence after 10 days in the hospital.
In a video message, Archbishop Palma thanked the medical workers who treated them and those who prayed for their speedy recovery.
“It’s nice to be home to resume our duties and ministries,” said the Cebu prelate.
The archbishop asked the faithful to continue praying for other people who are infected with COVID-19, especially those who died from the virus.
“For us who are given another opportunity to continue our ministry, we say praise God,” he said.
Other Catholic bishops who have tested positive for COVID-19 but have since recovered are Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila, retired Bishop Deogracias Iniguez of Kalookan, and Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle.
On Sunday, February 28, the Philippines confirmed 2,113 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the country’s total to 576,352.
The Department of Health also reported 9,418 new recoveries pushing the total number of Filipinos who recovered from the disease to 534,271.
This meant that the country has a total of 29,763 active cases as of 4 p.m. Sunday.
At least 29 nine more deaths were reported from the illness, bringing COVID-19’s death toll in the Philippines to 12,318.
This was the 4th straight day that the country logged more than 2,000 new cases of the disease. The last time this happened was from November 6 to 9 last year.
The pandemic has already caused the Philippines to plunge into its worst economic contraction since the Second World War.
Worldwide, the novel coronavirus has infected more than 113 million people and caused over 2.5 million deaths since it was first reported in Wuhan, China, in late 2019.
The United States remains the most badly affected country with over 28.5 million infections and over 511,000 deaths.
India follows the US with 11 million infections. Brazil ranks third with 10.5 million infections but is second in terms of deaths with over 254,000 COVID-19 fatalities. – with a report from CBCP News