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Sri Lankan Church cancels Masses, Sunday schools

Concerns have grown in recent days as the country sees a spike in Covid-19 cases

UCA News reporter, Colombo

UCA News reporter, Colombo

Updated: October 12, 2020 06:49 AM GMT
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Sri Lankan Church cancels Masses, Sunday schools

Brandix garment factory at Minuwangoda, near Colombo, where over 1,000 workers tested positive for Covid-19 in the biggest outbreak of the virus in Sri Lanka. (Photo: AFP)

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Sri Lankan Church authorities have canceled Sunday schools, Sunday Masses and other services due to a resurgence of coronavirus cases.

The government has banned all public gatherings until further notice as a new cluster of Covid-19 expands.

Concerns have grown the last few days over the extent of the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 1,000 garment workers testing positive for the disease.

A curfew has been declared in Gampaha and Mannar after a garment factory worker tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Church announced on Oct. 11 that it is canceling all Sunday schools until further notice. Colombo Archdiocese announced that all Catholic private schools in the archdiocese will be closed until further notice and Sunday Masses will be canceled for two weeks in Gampaha district.

Father Benet Shantha Fernando, national director for catechetics and bible apostolate, said that taking into consideration the Covid-19 situation, Catholic Sunday schools will be closed until further notice.

“Sunday Mass has been canceled and Catholic private schools and Sunday schools in the archdiocese will not be held until the authorities give permission," said Father Camillus Fernando, spokesperson of Colombo Archdiocese.

The decision came amid a resurgence of the contagion. The Health Promotion Bureau said 1,429 patients are receiving treatment at hospitals. Thirteen patients have died while 3,307 patients have fully recovered and been discharged from hospitals.

About 60 people including Mannar Bishop Fidelis Lionel Emmanuel Fernando and 16 Catholic priests were placed under self-quarantine after a construction worker at the Mannar bishop's house tested positive. The bishop later tested negative for the virus.

The Ministry of Education decided to close all government schools to stem the outbreak.

The grade 5 scholarship examination was held on Oct. 11 amid strict health regulations, with 331,694 candidates sitting the exam at 2,936 centers including church-run schools.

More than 363,000 candidates will sit university entrance examinations from Oct. 12

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