Vietnam dioceses cancel masses and catechism due to Covid-19

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Two dioceses in southern Vietnam have live-streamed public masses and canceled catechism classes as government officials take strong action to prevent the growth of coronavirus cases.

The Diocese of Phan Thiet has requested all parishes in the city of Phan Thiet, the coastal capital of Binh Thuan province, to temporarily cancel public masses, catechism classes, meetings, studies and other activities in churches to ensure the health of the population.

The diocese said Catholics should attend daily masses online.

“Priests from other parts of the province should briefly celebrate Masses and limit gatherings in churches,” said Father John Vianney Duong Nguyen Kha, head of the office of the diocese of Phan Thiet.

He said people should wear face masks and wash their hands with disinfectants while attending masses and confessing in churches. They are urged to pray fervently that the deadly pandemic will end soon.

Father Kha said that granting general absolution to Catholics was not yet encouraged, so priests should wear protective masks and gloves to hear confession and administer the anointing of the sick in order to avoid the infection.

The 40-year-old diocese made the announcement after the city, a famous tourist destination, confirmed nine cases of the coronavirus. A 51-year-old businesswoman was reportedly the main source of infection after returning home on March 2 on flights from the United States and tested positive for Covid-19 on March 9.

State-run VTC News reported that the woman had spread the disease to 10 other people and had close contact with 203 other people who made contact with 761 others.

The online newspaper said the woman, who misrepresented her trip after returning home, could face a fine of 200 million dong (US $ 8,600) or a sentence of 1 to 12 years in prison. .

On March 14, Father Ignatius Ho Van Xuan, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Ho Chi Minh City, asked more than 200 local parishes to cancel catechism classes from March 15 to protect children, families and communities of the pandemic.

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Parishes of Sao Mai Vinh Hoa in the city decided to cancel masses after two members came into contact with infected patients.

On March 14, authorities in Ho Chi Minh City demanded the closure of all bars, cinemas, theaters, online game stores, massage parlors, karaoke bars, beer clubs, nightclubs and other public entertainment venues. from March 15 to 31.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered all people to wear face masks in supermarkets, airports, bus and train stations, and public vehicles from March 16.

Vietnam refuses entry and stops issuing tourist visas to EU citizens for 30 days from March 15.

All passengers to or through China, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the Schengen countries will be mandatorily quarantined and tested for the coronavirus.

The Health Ministry said on March 15 that Vietnam has 57 confirmed cases of the coronavirus. The latest patients are two British nationals, a German and a Lithuanian.

Some 30,000 people are quarantined or monitored at their homes and in hospitals. There have been no deaths in the country and 16 patients have recovered.


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