Spiking Covid-19 infections – Church suspends public religious activities

Archbishop Simon Poh

KUCHING, Oct 28: The Catholic Archdiocese of Kuching today announced today that it will temporarily suspend all celebration of masses, rites and services, All Souls Day’ visits to cemeteries and columbarium on Nov 2  with immediate effect.

Archbishop Of Kuching His Grace Simon Poh said: “We have been monitoring the recent gradual increase of Covid-19 infections linked to many frequently visited places in Kuching. There are now more persons being in close contact with primary Covid-19 positive persons as well as widening circles of second or third-level contacts through business acquaintances or social networks.

“Although we do not have any report of close contact with Covid-19 positive persons in our churches, I have instructed that all masses in the red zones will be temporarily suspended as part of our Church’s social and pastoral response. In the meantime, all church offices will continue to be open to serve our parishioners,” Poh said in a statement issued here today.

He added that all the churches would also suspend visits to Catholic cemeteries and columbariums this weekend leading to All Souls’ Day on Nov 2 in order to help break the transmission of any infection.

“As an act of filial and love for our elderly in the home villages, I ask that Catholics from Kuching to refrain traveling to home villages for All Souls’ Day. I encourage such visits to be made later, during other days this month or in November.

“Let us all reduce and minimise all non-essential trips or visits since every point of contact creates an opening for Covid-19 infection,” he said.

“We will buy time for targeted ‘Active Case Detection’ and contact tracing that are currently in process to contain Covid-19 in Sarawak.

“Should you need to be in public places, remain vigilant and strictly adhere to safety SOPs (standard operating procedures). Wear your face mask at all times and maintain social distancing,” he added.

Poh said all masses will be available via live-streaming such as the Chrism Mass on Oct 29 at 5.30pm; Sunday All Saints’ Day Masses on Nov 1 and blessing of the cemetery and All Souls Day on Nov 2. – DayakDaily