SINGAPORE, July 29 — Four people infected by the coronavirus had gone to four Catholic churches last week, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore said in a statement today, adding that none of them had symptoms.
Three are under quarantine and one is in an isolation ward.
The churches are:
· Church of the Holy Spirit located along Upper Thomson Road
· Church of the Holy Cross located at Clementi Avenue 1
· Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary located at Highland Road near Kovan
· St Anne’s Church located at Sengkang East Way
The archdiocese said that these churches are working with the relevant government agencies to identify those who have been exposed and will activate the necessary precautionary measures.
The four infected persons had each gone to the four churches to attend weekend Masses, which are the central worship sessions for Catholics. Three were at Masses last Sunday and one was at Mass on July 18, the Sunday before.
In a statement on its Facebook page on Wednesday, Reverend Father Kamelus Kamus, parish priest of Church of the Holy Spirit, said that a male churchgoer who tested positive for Covid-19 was at the 11am Mass on July 18.
“He is fully vaccinated and asymptomatic and is now under quarantine order,” he said.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) had contacted and placed on quarantine churchgoers who were seated in the same zone as the infected person, he added.
Reverend Father Henry Siew, parish priest of Church of the Holy Cross, said on Facebook today that a female churchgoer who attended its 7.30am Mass last Sunday had tested positive on Monday.
“She was likely infected from a market she visited earlier,” he said.
She, too, was fully vaccinated, asymptomatic and is under quarantine order.
“We have assisted the Ministry of Health in identifying those who were in the same zone (as) the affected person. MOH had contacted them and placed them under home quarantine. This is a precautionary measure. Their risk of infection is actually very low,” he added.
The church has undergone a round of disinfection and sanitisation today.
The Church of The Immaculate Heart of Mary similarly said in a Facebook post today that a male churchgoer who attended a 5pm Mass last Sunday tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday.
Its parish priest Paul Ngo said that the infected person has been placed in an isolation ward.
All parishioners exposed to the patient were contacted by MOH and isolated, he added.
St Anne’s Church said on Facebook that a churchgoer had attended the 1.30pm Mass last Sunday and was believed to have been on church grounds since noon that day.
Reverend Father Jovita Ho, its parish priest, said that he had submitted all the names of the people who were in church on July 25 between 12pm and 2.30pm and they included Mass attendees as well as volunteers and church ministry members.
All parishioners exposed to the infected individual will be contacted by MOH and isolated.
“All elderly parishioners, especially those not vaccinated, are advised to attend online Mass instead during Phase 2 (heightened alert), which currently ends on Aug 18,” the priest added.
Both the Church of The Immaculate Heart of Mary and St Anne’s Church did not mention in their statements if the infected churchgoer from their parish was fully vaccinated.
The archdiocese, which oversees 32 Catholic churches island-wide, reminded all churchgoers to remain vigilant and to “at all times cooperate with the relevant church authorities to ensure that our churches are safe for all to come and worship”.
“We would like to take this opportunity to advise all our faithful to take care of their health and if they are unwell, to refrain from attending Masses and seek immediate medical attention.”
If unwell, churchgoers should attend Masses online instead, it added.
Since Singapore returned to a stricter heightened alert phase from July 22, all Catholic churches here have limited each Mass to have a maximum of 100 attendees.
Pre-event testing is not done for Masses with 50 or fewer people, but is required for between 51 and 100 people. — TODAY