SINGAPORE: The Catholic Church in Singapore will continue to suspend mass in light of the rising number of COVID-19 infections, it announced on Thursday (Mar 12).
“We are not helping the situation if we resume Masses at this time, simply because of the sheer numbers of Catholics packing in each service, and their fluidity in moving from one parish to another,” said Reverend William Goh, Archbishop of Singapore, in a letter.
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“Furthermore, a large percentage of our parishioners belong to a vulnerable group – seniors with lower immunity.”
The Catholic Church in Singapore first suspended mass indefinitely from Feb 14. It also suspended large public events such as formation sessions, retreats and seminars.
It had announced on Mar 5 that mass would resume on Mar 14 and 15, “when all the churches put in place the necessary precautionary measures”.
On Thursday, Reverend Goh said he has decided to rescind the order to resume masses. He added that when the announcement was made last Thursday, the situation had seemed to stabilise.
But he noted that the situation has since become serious, with the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring COVID-19 a pandemic, and the emergence of Singapore’s biggest cluster from SAFRA Jurong.
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Authorities in Singapore are also introducing more measures for social distancing amid a rise in the number of cases here.
Singapore has 178 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday, of which 96 have recovered and been discharged.
“I know it is a decision that will not please all, but as the Head of the Catholic Church in Singapore, I have to decide for the common good,” Reverend Goh wrote.
“Should anything untoward happen, it would be too late to regret.”