SINGAPORE: COVID-19 cases have been reported at four Catholic churches, said the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore on Thursday (Jul 29).
The affected individuals had visited the Holy Cross, Holy Spirit, Immaculate Heart of Mary and St Anne's churches between Jul 18 and Jul 25. All were asymptomatic.
"All affected churches are working with the relevant government agencies to identify those who have been exposed and to activate the necessary precautionary measures," said the archdiocese.
Church attendees are also urged to seek medical attention if they are unwell and refrain from attending Masses.
To attend Mass, Catholics in Singapore have to pre-register in one parish and make a booking prior to the service.
In separate Facebook posts, the four churches said that each had one parishioner who tested positive for COVID-19 and the churches have either undergone or will undergo deep cleaning of its premises.
CHURCH OF THE HOLY CROSS
Giving a chronology of the events, parish priest Father Henry Siew of the Holy Cross Church in Clementi said the parishioner who tested positive had attended Mass on Jul 25 at 7.30am.
The woman is fully vaccinated and she was quarantined after testing positive on Jul 26, said Fr Siew.
She was "likely infected from a market she visited earlier", he added.
The following day, the Ministry of Health (MOH) contacted the parish and information was provided to identify those who were in the same zone as the woman.
The ministry then contacted them and placed these individuals under home quarantine order on Jul 28.
"This is a precautionary measure. Their risk of infection is actually very low," said Fr Siew, adding that its premises were disinfected and sanitised on Thursday.
ST ANNE'S CHURCH
A St Anne's parishioner who attended Mass at 1.30pm on Jul 25 has tested positive for COVID-19, said parish priest Father Jovita Ho.
"The parishioner ... was believed to have been on church grounds since 12pm," Fr Ho said in a Facebook post on the church's page.
Fr Ho added that the parish, which is located in Sengkang, assisted MOH with contact tracing on Jul 28.
"Parishioners who are feeling unwell are once again reminded to stay at home and refrain from coming to church or going elsewhere, and to seek medical attention.
"All elderly parishioners (especially those unvaccinated) are also advised to attend online Mass instead during Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) which currently ends on Aug 18, 2021," said the priest.
CHURCH OF THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY
A parishioner at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Kovan has tested positive for COVID-19 after attending Mass at 5pm on Jul 25.
"He was asymptomatic when he attended Mass, and has been warded in an isolation ward," said parish priest Father Paul Ngo.
In a post on the church's Facebook page, Fr Ngo said the man tested positive and was isolated on Jul 27. The church assisted MOH with contact tracing the following day, he addded.
"I wish to assure you that all necessary steps are being taken to ensure that our church remains a safe place for worship," added Fr Ngo.
CHURCH OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
A parishioner at the Church of the Holy Spirit, located in Upper Thomson, tested positive for COVID-19 a week after attending Mass on Jul 18, its parish priest said in a post on the church's Facebook page.
"He is fully vaccinated and asymptomatic, and is now under quarantine order," said Father Kamelus Kamus, who is also known as Fr Kamil.
After he tested positive on Jul 25, the church identified those who were in the same zone as the man and submitted the list to MOH on Jul 27, he said.
Under Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), places of worship are allowed to conduct services of up to 100 people with pre-event testing and up to 50 people without.