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Covid-19 spike forces West Java churches to close again

Public Masses off in Indonesia's Bogor City as authorities impose curfew to block virus spreading

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Covid-19 spike forces West Java churches to close again

Workers in protective suits carry a mock coffin as part of an awareness drive against the coronavirus in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Sept. 1 (Photo: Adek Berry/AFP)

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Three parishes in Bogor city in Indonesia’s West Java province have closed their churches again following the reimposition of strict social restrictions following a spike in Covid-19 cases.

Beatae Mariae Virginis Cathedral Church, St. Francis of Assisi Church and St. Ignatius of Loyola Church closed again on Aug. 29 until Sept. 11 after having been allowed to reopen for Sunday Masses over the last two months.

They previously had canceled all church activities following the outbreak of the coronavirus in early March.

As of Aug. 31, Bogor city had recorded 627 out of 174,796 Covid-19 cases in Indonesia and 30 out of 7,417 deaths.

“Bogor's mayor has issued a letter ordering the implementation of so-called micro and community-scale social restrictions. This is also imposed on places of worship,” Father Dominikus Tukiyo, the Cathedral Church’s parish priest, told UCA News on Sept. 1.

“We have to follow the local administration’s directive. We do not know how the situation will develop. But once local authorities say the situation is under control, we will reopen our church.”

The priest said all church activities in the Cathedral Church were canceled except the Anointing of the Sick.

He suggested couples put off weddings but said ceremonies might be able to go ahead with a limited number of guests.

Father Tukiyo also said that even though the Cathedral Church had resumed public Sunday Masses on July 11 under strict health protocols, the number of Massgoers has remained low.

One parishioner, Stefanus Cahyadi, welcomed the Cathedral Church’s decision, adding many parishioners were reluctant anyway to attend public Sunday Masses amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I always join livestreamed Sunday Masses. It is because I still live with my parents. I care about their health,” he told UCA News.

A curfew is also being imposed as part of the social restrictions. Shopping malls are required to close at 6pm and people are prohibited from going outdoors after 9pm.

“We want people to know that the current situation is alarming,” Bogor Mayor Bima Arya told The Jakarta Post.

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