The threat of spreading the coronavirus has forced Catholic officials in Hong Kong to suspend all church programs from 15th to 28th February, including Sunday Masses and the Ash Wednesday liturgy that marks the beginning of Lent.
Ucanews.com reported Cardinal John Tong, apostolic administrator of Hong Kong, said the “disappointing” decision had been made “because the next two weeks will be a crucial time to suppress the epidemic”.
“Some church members may be disappointed” with the diocesan move, the cardinal said. “This is not an easy decision.”
The move comes amid global fears that the epidemic, now called COVID-19, has worsened in China against the prediction of experts. The epidemic, first reported in Wuhan city of Hubei province, has spread across the world and claimed more than 1,300 lives, with more than 60,000 confirmed cases as of 13th February, mostly in China.
Picture: Catholics celebrate Mass at Hong Kong’s Catholic Cathedral with protective masks on 2nd February 2020. The threat of spreading the coronavirus has forced Catholic officials in Hong Kong to suspend all public Masses on Sundays and weekdays from 15th to 28th February. (CNS Photo/Francis Wong).