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Vietnam archdiocese suspends services after Covid-19 outbreak

Daily Masses will be livestreamed from Notre Dame Cathedral on Ho Chi Minh City Archdiocese's website

UCA News reporter

UCA News reporter

Published: May 22, 2021 05:57 AM GMT

Updated: May 22, 2021 08:32 AM GMT

Vietnam archdiocese suspends services after Covid-19 outbreak

Mater Unitatis Association sisters supply vegetables to people who are isolated by preventive measures against Covid-19 in Bac Giang province. (Photo courtesy of Mater Unitatis Facebook)

An archdiocese in southern Vietnam has stopped all religious activities as local authorities introduced tight measures against a new Covid-19 wave.

On May 21, Duong Anh Duc, vice chairperson of the People's Committee in Ho Chi Minh City, ordered that all entertainment and sports centers, massage parlors, theaters, movie houses, bars, karaoke bars, discos and public internet services be closed starting on May 22.

Small restaurants are asked to provide food for people to take out and eat at other places, while hotel restaurants are not allowed to serve over 20 people at one time.

Local people are asked to keep themselves at safe distances and steer clear of gatherings on streets, in parks and at other public places.

Duc said local churches, pagodas, temples and other religious places must suspend all their services and activities with attendances of 20 and above. Earlier, religious places had only been allowed to hold services for low attendances of half their capacities.

Ho Chi Minh City health authorities reported six new infections in the previous four days, three of which were the dangerous Indian or UK strains, detected for the first time in the city. Over 6,000 people who had contact with the patients have been tested.

The priest called on Catholics to be aware of protecting community health

On May 22, Father Peter Kieu Cong Tung, chancellor of the Ho Chi Minh City Archbishop's House, asked all parishes to suspend all services until further notice as the coronavirus outbreak gets more complicated

Father Tung called on priests to celebrate daily Masses to pray for the world to overcome the pandemic. Services must be attended by fewer than 20 people who keep themselves two meters away from others. Daily Masses will be livestreamed from Notre Dame Cathedral on the archdiocese's website.

He said churches and chapels must be cleaned and Massgoers should wash their hands with antiseptic and wear face masks.

The priest called on Catholics to be aware of protecting community health. Those who have been in coronavirus-hit areas should isolate themselves at home, avoid public places and visit healthcare centers if they suffer respiratory problems.

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The parish council of Vuon Xoai Parish said all parishioners should obey preventive measures and those who have health problems should not visit the church.

Mater Unitatis Association sisters in Bac Giang province — one of the epicenters of the new fourth wave of Covid-19 in Vietnam — have offered free health care to people who are quarantined at their convent and factory workers isolated at their boarding houses for the past seven days.

The nuns also give health care and test samples to people suspected of having Covid-19.

They said pregnant workers and children whose parents work at factories live in small, dingy rooms in hot weather. They are worried about being infected, have no food and some have become jobless as factories closed.

On May 21, provincial officials decided to give 24,000 workers who are isolated by the coronavirus 75,000 dong (US$3.25) per day each within 10 days.

They also asked people to stay home, isolate house from house and not receive any outsiders so as to contain the pandemic, which has infected 812 people since April 27.

The Southeast Asian country has reported 1,963 locally transmitted infections including six deaths in the past 25 days.

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