The Archdiocese of Manila reminded the faithful this week to continue following minimum public health standards against COVID-19, including the wearing of face masks, when attending Mass.
“The pandemic difficulties stirred us to take care of each other and by this we will be known that we are disciples of the Lord,” read a circular released by the archdiocese on November 8.
The archdiocese’s liturgical and health care commissions requested the faithful to always wear face masks during Masses and other gatherings “in compassionate regard to the elderly and the vulnerable.”
The Philippines this week recorded the lowest number of active coronavirus cases since July 13, data from the Department of Health showed.
On Tuesday, there were 16,034 active COVID-19 infections in the country, a little higher compared to 14,862 on July 13, the last time active cases counted fewer than 15,000.
Of the new cases, 164 were detected in Metro Manila. The Health department also recorded seven new deaths, raising the total to 64,298. The coronavirus positivity rate from Nov. 6 to 7 was at 9.3 percent.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. earlier signed an executive order allowing the voluntary use of face masks in all indoor and outdoor settings with the exception of health care facilities, medical transport vehicles and public transport.
The order notes that “countries around the world have been instituting measures such as reopening of international borders, and relaxation of health safety protocols and requirements, resulting in immediate positive impacts to their economies.”
It also observed that “countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, as well as various countries around the world, have begun liberalizing face mask mandates with no significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases recorded.”
The decision to relax the mask mandate is seen as yet another key step in opening the country up to international tourism.
The Philippines previously reopened its borders to international tourists in February, eased capacity restrictions in March and ended all lockdowns in April as it transitioned to living with COVID-19.
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