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NE bishops issue advisory to contain COVID-19

By Staff Correspondent

DIBRUGARH, March 18 - The North East India Regional Bishops� Council (NEIRBC) has urged upon the Christian community in entire North East to strictly adhere to the advisory and instructions of their respective States to prevent the spread of deadly novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

After a two-day meeting of the council at Pastoral Centre, Mancotta here, the apex body of the Catholic Church in North East today said that the threat of coronavirus is showing no sign of respite and it continues to spread rapidly across the globe. Therefore, it is crucial that the people cooperate with the government in containing the virus. The Christian community as a whole and the clergy in particular are advised to make certain amends in the conduct of religious ceremonies for the same, the North East bishops body stated.

In an advisory note, the NEIRBC endorsed the recent guidelines issued by Guwahati Archbishop John Moolachira, in which the prelate had asked the clergy and religious leaders of the Church to alter certain practices during liturgical ceremonies to check the spread of coronavirus. The North East bishops� body has also urged upon the people to avoid large public gatherings.

Among others, NEIRBC has also asked its believers to refrain from kissing the crucifix during the ceremony of the �veneration of the cross� on Good Friday.

The bishops have also advised clergy to refrain from any physical contact while praying over the sick or while accepting offerings. The Eucharistic ministers are also advised to distribute the Holy Communion on the palm of the hand with sanitized hands. During the �washing of the feet� on Maundy Thursday (the day before Good Friday), Archbishop has also asked the priests to use separate disposable wet wipes for each individual instead of the customary towel for all.

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