No more religious gatherings for NCR Plus this Holy Week

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 27) — The government is no longer allowing any form of religious gatherings in Metro Manila and nearby provinces as they shift to the strictest form of community quarantine this Holy Week.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced this in an online media briefing on Saturday as he discussed the rules that will take effect in what the government calls the NCR Plus bubble—the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal—during the one-week enhanced community quarantine from March 29 to April 4.

Mass gatherings or those involving more than 10 people outside their household are prohibited, Roque said.

"Pati po yung pinayagan nating simba, bawal na po muli (Even the Mass that we allowed earlier is again prohibited)," Roque said.

"Wala na pong (There will be no more) religious gatherings," he added.

Roque is also the spokesperson of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, the policy-making body in the government's COVID-19 pandemic response.

On Friday, the IATF allowed once-a-day religious gatherings at 10% of venue capacity from April 1 (Maundy Thursday) to April 4 (Easter Sunday). The decision came after Bishop Broderick Pabillo of the Manila Archdiocese asked the IATF to clarify restrictions on mass gatherings in areas under the NCR Plus bubble.

The government has tightened quarantine measures in Metro Manila and nearby provinces amid the surge in COVID-19 infections, with active cases hitting another record high 118,122 on Saturday.