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Church keeping close eye on virus

As the deadly COVID-19 (short for Coronavirus disease 2019) spreads around the world, the local Catholic Church is taking cues from the health authorities by encouraging parishioners and parishes to be diligent in ensuring best practices relating to hygiene.

Msgr Esau Joseph, Vicar for Health and a Consultant Doctor confirmed that no other special precautions have been implemented at churches.

He told Catholic News last Wednesday there is “no prohibition” on performing the Sign of Peace or the holding of hands during the Our Father at Mass “for the time being”. There is also no need to limit Mass attendance, he said.

Msgr Joseph acknowledged while he is aware of parishioner’s concerns on contracting the virus, particularly during the Sign of Peace, Rather, he believes that focusing on a healthy diet, regular exercise and building one’s immune system are “much more important than contracting the COVID-19 for the time being”.

He mentioned that the mortality rate of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), viruses related to COVID-19 were “much higher” than the COVID-19.

“And we went through SARS and MERS by following the guidelines,” he said. Guidelines he said, were not only for the Church, but all institutions.

He said that most parishes in their respective bulletin boards have shared vital information and instructions on the COVID-19.

To this end, Msgr Joseph has this message for all: “No need to panic. The government is trying their best for total surveillance and monitoring of all ports of entry….”

Symptoms of the COVID-19 include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Acute diarrhoea

In severe cases symptoms may also include:

  • Pneumonia
  • Severe acute respiratory syndrome
  • Kidney failure

Prevention is the most important action you can take to protect yourself and your family from getting the COVID-19 The Ministry of Health urges the population to:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • Cough and sneeze into the crook of your elbow if you do not have a tissue
  • Avoid close contact with people who have flu-like symptoms
  • Thoroughly cook meat and eggs before consumption