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Philippine Catholic bishops call for end to ‘coronavirus stigma’

Bishop Patricio Buzon of Bacolod and Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila appeal for an end to the “stigmatization” of Covid-19 patients. (Photo from CBCP News)

Catholic church leaders in the Philippines appealed to the faithful to put an end to the discrimination against people who are infected with the new coronavirus.

Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila noted that there seems to be a growing “stigmatization” of people with COVID-19 as the number of cases in the country continues to increase.

The bishop, who recovered from the virus last week, likened the new coronavirus disease with “leprosy at the time of Jesus.”

While leprosy can be seen externally and the new coronavirus is invisible to the human eye, “they both have the same effect on people,” he said.

“Both keep the infected away from other people. They are avoided by others, even by people close to them,” said the prelate.

“There is the strong fear of infection in both cases, largely because of the unknown nature of the disease,” added the bishop.

He said that with the infection is the blame for the supposed “carelessness” of those who acquired the disease. “In both [leprosy and COVID-19] there is a stigma attached,” he said.

Bishop Patricio Buzon of Bacolod also appealed for an end to “hate” related to the disease that describes patients as “modern lepers.”

“All over the world people are discriminated against because of color, culture, belief, religion, and all kinds of differences,” he said.

The bishop appealed for prayers for the country’s healing and for frontliners as cases of the new coronavirus disease continue to increase in the country. -


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