As millions joined the annual Traslacion procession honoring the Black Nazarene, more than 250 devotees were seen to by medical teams due to elevated blood pressure, while two were sent to hospitals, one due to suspected spinal injury, the other a fall victim.

Another 245 were reported as having minor cases such as dizziness, lacerations and abrasions; 19 people experienced difficulty of breathing, while another 112 people were provided with psycho-social support, according to a report from the Red Cross.

The day prior to the procession, the Department of Health already sent out a reminder especially for devotees intending to participate to seek support from the department's 14 medical teams from different public hospitals deployed around the procession's route if they need assistance.

“All DOH hospitals will be on ‘Code White’ alert status, which refers to the readiness status of hospital manpower such as general and orthopaedic surgeons, anaesthesiologists, internists, operating room nurses, ophthalmologists and otorhinolaryngologists, to respond to any emergency situation,” said Secretary of Health Francisco Duque III, in a statement.

Additionally, Red Cross had 2,000 volunteers deployed in the areas. The Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) also have medical teams.

DOH’s Operation Center was operational 24/7 to assist medical teams.

Initially, DOH told devotees to prepare for both rainy or sunny weathers, and to wear comfortable clothes and protective footwear.

“People who are sick, or pregnant, or with severe medical conditions, are advised to take extra precautions or opt to forgo the activity altogether,” noted DOH.

The health agency further told devotees to bring identification cards with them, in cases professionals need their blood type, history of allergies, emergency contact and existing medical condition.

An official from Manila Health Department (MHD), meanwhile, said that (so far) fewer injuries this year were reported compared to last year’s, quoting a report from the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

“Usually, we have around 500 injured people because of the crowd, but fortunately, we only have 10-12,” MHD Emergency Management Chief Dr Virgilio Martin III was quoted as saying. MIMS