Here's the Department of Health (DOH) advisory for the Black Nazarene devotees. Meanwhile as of this posting, thousands of devotees of the Black Nazarene formed a line stretching more than one kilometer at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila as the traditional "pahalik" started Tuesday afternoon.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority traffic discipline office head Yves Gonzalez said that as of 1:53 p.m., the line was about 1.45 km long.
DOH strongly urge the devotees to adopt prudent measures, such as bringing their own water and enough food, to avoid any untoward incidents during the yearly procession.
“It would be more practical and healthy for devotees to bring their own food and snacks to the procession and avoid street foods as these are exposed to dust particles and other pollutants in the streets and are sometimes unsanitary,” Secretary of Health Enrique T. Ona said, adding they should also prevent dehydration by bringing their drinking water.
Devotees are also advised not to bring along children during the Feast of the Black Nazarene to avoid injuries due to stampede and jostling. Also, small children or infants who are most vulnerable to diseases can easily get sick in these crowded environments.
Ona also revealed that DOH emergency health teams will be on standby. On January 8, a DOH-National Capital Region Medical Team will be at the Quirino Grandstand. In case of mass casualty incidents, back up ambulance teams from the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center, San Lazaro Hospital, Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, Tondo Medical Center, and Philippine Orthopedic Center will also be available.
On January 9, emergency medical teams will be posted at the following locations: Quirino Grandstand near Museo Pambata; National Museum; Post Office/Liwasang Bonifacio; Metropolitan Theater area; Mercury Drug near Quiapo Church; City State Hotel along Quezon Boulevard; 7-11 Quezon Blvd North Bound; UST Lerma; and Palanca Street near Ayala Bridge.
Code White Alert is up in all Metro Manila hospitals from January 8-10. The DOH Health Emergency Management Staff will continuously monitor the event and will be at the Quiapo Command Post coordinating with other agencies involved in the celebration.