The Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur has suspended public Masses in churches within Kuala Lumpur and Selangor state as Covid-19 cases began to surge in Malaysia in a second wave.
in a statement on Oct. 6, Father Michael Chua, chancellor of the archdiocese, said the suspension would start on Oct. 7 and be reviewed before Oct. 20.
The archdiocesan crisis management task force had recommended additional health measures to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission.
Father Chua urged Catholics in Kuala Lumpur not to travel to other provincial states to attend Masses as it would increase the risk of transmissions.
The archdiocese has proposed livestreaming Masses for those who are unable to attend in person.
The chancellor also urged the faithful to put off celebrations like the Sacrament of Confirmation, First Holy Communion, baptisms and weddings.
Funeral services cannot be attended by more than 20 persons, according to the guidelines.
"Additional measures may be taken in the future for individual parishes and districts should the situation worsen in these areas," said Father Chua.
"Let us continue to be vigilant and fulfill our civic duty in working to bring this current second wave under control. Let us also pray for all the healthcare personnel and first responders."
However, Hindu temples have decided to continue prayers by adhering to Covid-19 protocols, said the Malaysian Hindu Sangam (MHS).
Daily prayers will continue for now, MHS president R.S. Mohan Shan told a local newspaper when asked about Catholics' decision to suspend Masses.
After successfully containing the Covid-19 virus, Malaysia is passing through the second wave of infections. The country has reported a steady rise in cases following last month's poll in Sabah state.
On Oct, 3, Malaysia reported 317 new infections, the highest daily increase since the pandemic outbreak. On Oct. 4, the country had 293 positive cases followed by 432 cases — a new daily record — on Oct. 5.
Though Malaysia's total of 12,831 cases and 137 deaths is still modest by global standards, the country now has the fifth-highest total in Southeast Asia after the second wave of infections.
The rise in Covid-19 cases comes amid political unrest between Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who last month declared that he had secured the majority's backings in parliament, implying that Muhyiddin's government may not last its term.
Yassin has gone into self-quarantine after attending a cabinet meeting on Oct. 3.