Singapore Archbishop announces indefinite suspension of public Masses to minimize risk of COVID-19 cluster outbreak

Photo from Cathedral of the Good Shepherd's Facebook page

Most Rev Archbishop William Goh Seng Chye has announced that public Masses for the Catholic community — both on weekdays and weekends — will be indefinitely suspended of public Masses as of 15 February, 12pm “until there is greater clarity on the way forward” so as to minimize the risk of COVID-19 cluster outbreak in Singapore.

The Singapore Archbishop wrote in a pastoral letter on Friday evening, addressing all Singapore Catholics that they need to be responsible in playing their part to contain the spread of this virus by avoiding large gatherings of people.

Just yesterday evening, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced nine more confirmed cases of COVID-19 infected individuals. Out of the nine new cases, six are linked to the cluster at Grace Assembly of God. In total, 13 of the 68 confirmed cases have originated from the church.

Archbishop Goh wrote that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore has thus far provided medical and public health advisories to minimize the risk of a cluster outbreak of the COVID-19 among its congregations and priests, even with consideration of mandating compulsory taking of temperature.

“Yet, we are also aware that temperature-taking is not a fool-proof 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.   As Catholics, we need to be responsible in playing our part to contain the spread of this virus by avoiding large gatherings of people.” wrote Archbishop Goh.

Other than the indefinite suspension of the public Masses, he also recommends for the suspension of all other public events with large numbers of people attending, such as formation sessions, retreats and seminars.

Archbishop Goh wrote that Catholics should try to follow the broadcast of the Mass on YouTube or CatholicSG Radio. (https://www.catholic.sg/)

As for weddings and funerals that are considered private services, only invited guests can attend with all precautionary measures mandatory taken as per the advice of the Catholic Medical Guild (CMG).

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