Filipinos go to church on Palm Sunday despite imminent religious gathering ban

Hundreds of Roman Catholics in Manila flocked to Quiapo Church on Sunday 28 March, despite an imminent ban on religious gatherings. It comes amid a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases in the Philippines. Amongst Catholics in the Philippines, Palm Sunday is a tradition in which the priest anoints palm fronds with holy water. “No more religious gatherings. Full stop!” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in a press conference on Saturday March 27. Metro Manila and the surrounding provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, and Cavite have been placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the strictest quarantine level in the Philippines, to halt the coronavirus surge. ECQ is imposed in these areas, called NCR Plus, from Holy Monday, March 29, to Easter Sunday, April 14.