On Thursday (19 March), the Anglican Diocese of Singapore announced that all regular gatherings and services in Anglican churches islandwide have been suspended for two weeks with immediate effect.
The suspension will last until 3 April in order to “create a two-week break in church gatherings”.
While referring to the graph that indicates lesser number of infected cases over time with good containment measures, the organisation said, “The Diocesan leadership has closely monitored the escalating COVID-19 situation and makes this contribution towards the concerted national effort to ‘flatten the coronavirus curve’”.
As of now, there are 27 parishes of different sizes in the Anglican Diocese of Singapore, and they have an average weekly attendance of approximately 21,000.
The churches also noted that they want to be opened prior the weekend of 4 and 5 April, which is the beginning of Holy Week as it is the week leading up to Easter Sunday on 12 April.
Despite the temporary suspension, online weekend services will still be carried out, and pastoral care will be offered to the elderly and the vulnerable.
Thursday’s announcement was made following St Andrew’s Cathedral, the oldest Anglican site of worship in Singapore, closed its doors after one of its members was tested positive for the deadly coronavirus.
On Wednesday, a notice was place outside the church’s gate informing worshippers that the church located next to City Hall would not be opened from 11.59pm on Wednesday up till 11.59pm on 3 April. This is so the affected premises could be professionally cleaned.
It added that it got to know about the case on Wednesday afternoon, and the infected member is currently warded in a hospital.
In a Facebook post by St Andrew’s Cathedral, it was reported that the man, who had returned from work in the United Kingdom on 14 March, attended the 9am English Service which was conducted in the Cathedral New Sanctuary on Sunday (15 March).
“He had no symptoms of illness and passed the pre-Service precautionary screening comprising the health and travel declaration and temperature check,” the church’s COVID-19 management team stated in the notice.
It also asked members to comply with the Ministry of Health (MOH) for contact tracing and seek verification from MOH on the authenticity of calls.
As of 19 March (Thursday), 12pm, the MOH has confirmed and verified an additional 24 imported and eight local cases of COVID-19 infection in Singapore. This brings the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 345.
To date, a total of 124 cases have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged from the hospital. Of the 221 confirmed cases who are still in the hospital, most are stable or improving. 15 are in critical condition in the intensive care unit.