Archdiocese of Dublin issues guidance on coronavirus
The Archdiocese of Dublin has urged Catholics not to attend Mass if they believe they may have the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
In guidance posted on its website, the archdiocese also recommended suspending the Sign of Peace, suggesting that the priest invites the congregation to carry out an alternative Sign of Peace that does not involve hand contact, such as a smile, nod or bow.
It also said the practice of shaking hands on greeting and departure at religious services and gatherings should be suspended for both religious leaders, clergy and laity.
In the guidance, the archdiocese also advises that holy water fonts should not be used; those administering Holy Communion should wash their hands or use alcohol based hand gel before beginning; Holy Communion should be administered into the hands only and not onto the tongue; and communal vessels should be suspended, with only the celebrant drinking from the Chalice. No-one else should drink from the Chalice, it states, explaining that this includes other priests, ministers of the Eucharist and members of the congregation.
The guidance comes after the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in the Irish Republic last weekend.
The health authorities said the patient – a male in the east of the country – contracted the virus in one of the areas of northern Italy badly affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.
The Archdiocese of Dublin’s guidance states: ‘If members of the congregation, religious leaders (eg priests) or others involved in religious services (eg ministers of the Eucharist) feel ill and may have COVID-19, even if their symptoms are mild, they should stay at home and follow this advice.’
The archdiocese advises those who feel ill and who may have the coronavirus to ‘isolate yourself’ and ‘phone your GP without delay’, informing them of your travel history and symptoms.
For those who don’t have a GP, it advises phoning the Emergency Services on 999 or 112 and asking for the National Ambulance Service, informing them of your travel history and symptoms.
‘It is important that you PHONE your GP first and talk to them rather than arriving at the GP surgery without contacting them so that you don’t put staff or other patients at risk of infection,’ it adds.
Meanwhile, those who do feel well and have no symptoms, but in the past 14 days they have ‘travelled to Ireland from an area with presumed ongoing community transmission of COVID-19’, ‘been in contact with a person who has COVID-19’, or ‘attended/worked in a healthcare facility where patients with COVID-19 are being treated…should phone the HSELive helpline on 1850 24 1850 for advice’.
The archdiocese also insists that people ‘should always practice good hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene.’
COVID-19 can be a mild or severe illness. The symptoms of COVID-19 include:
• Shortness of breath
• Difficulty breathing
• Fever (high temperature)
COVID-19 can also result in more severe illness including:
• Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
• Kidney Failure
Those considered to be at higher risk for COVID-19 include the following:
• People aged 65 years and older
• People with long-term medical conditions – for example, heart disease, lung disease, diabetes or liver disease
Picture: A sign which forms part of the public awareness campaign for COVID-19 at Dublin Airport. (Brian Lawless/PA).
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