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Catholic Church in Singapore suspends all public worship ‘indefinitely’ in light of Covid-19 outbreak

SINGAPORE — The Catholic Church in Singapore is suspending all public Masses both on weekdays and weekends from Saturday (Feb 15) onwards until further notice due to the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.

Catholic Church in Singapore suspends all public worship ‘indefinitely’ in light of Covid-19 outbreak

Catholic parishioners at a Mass held in the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd. Archbishop William Goh, head of the Catholic Church in Singapore, has decided to temporarily stop all public Masses to prevent community spread of the coronavirus.

SINGAPORE — The Catholic Church in Singapore is suspending all public Masses both on weekdays and weekends from Saturday (Feb 15) onwards until further notice due to the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.

In a Facebook post on Friday, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore — which oversees 32 Catholic churches around the island — also advised parish priests and the lay communities that all other public events with large numbers of people attending, such as faith formation sessions, retreats and seminars should also be suspended.

Late last month, the Church had earlier exempted its members who are unwell or showing flu-like symptoms from attending Mass, which is the chief and central form of communal worship and thanksgiving among Catholics. Masses are usually held twice daily on weekdays but see the most attendance on the weekends when there are at least four to five sessions.

In its Facebook post, the Church — in a pastoral letter signed by Archbishop William Goh — said that in the past weeks, it had issued medical and public health advisories to minimise the risk of a cluster outbreak of Covid-19 among its congregations and priests, adding that it had even considered mandating compulsory temperature-taking.

However, it is aware that temperature-taking is not a foolproof screening tool as persons who are asymptomatic can also be carriers of the infection.

“Thus, implementing temperature screening may not entirely help prevent the spread of this infection even though it does mitigate the possibility of its transmission.”

Archbishop Goh, who is the leader of the Catholic Church in Singapore, said that the cancellation of Masses does not mean that Catholics can excuse themselves from fulfilling their religious obligation, adding that they could follow the broadcast of the Mass on YouTube or on the mobile application CatholicSG Radio.

They should spend time in prayer and to pray for the world that this Covid-19 virus will be contained and eradicated, and also for those in the frontlines — the doctors and the nurses — who are putting their own well-being in the service of the sick, he added.

In the letter, the archbishop also said that weddings and funerals are considered private services which means that only invited guests are able to attend.

Arrangements will have to be made with the parish priest, with all precautionary measures to be taken based on the advice of the Catholic Medical Guild.

As of Friday, Singapore has recorded 67 confirmed cases of Covid-19. Of these, 17 have been discharged from hospital while another six remain in the intensive care unit and are critically ill.

One of the latest confirmed patients announced was a 30-year-old Singaporean man who is the family member of a 62-year-old DBS bank employee who contracted the virus. The Ministry of Health (MOH) said that the younger man had attended Mass at the Catholic Church of Christ the King located along Ang Mo Kio Avenue.

Both did not travel to China and lived on Mei Hwan Drive near Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1. They are now isolated at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID).

The 30-year-old reported onset of symptoms on Jan 30 and sought treatment at a private clinic on the same day, and again on Feb 3. He went to NCID on Feb 12 and tested positive the next morning.

Before he was warded, he had gone to work at Pulau Bukom and went to church.

Presently, MOH has identified two clusters at non-Catholic churches where the virus has possibly circulated: The Grace Assembly of God church in Tanglin and Bukit Batok with 13 people infected and the Life Church and Missions Singapore in Paya Lebar with five people infected. 

Related topics

Covid-19 Wuhan virus coronavirus health Catholic Church outbreak

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