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Coronavirus: Catholic Church drains holy water fonts and suspends sign of peace

Holy water fonts are being drained and the sign of peace suspended as the Catholic Church does its bit to combat coronavirus 

The Catholic Church has issued advice to priests and those attending Mass across Ireland following the first case of coronavirus to be detected.

Information which has been circulated today to all clergy includes advice to suspend the sign of peace, which includes the shaking of hands during services.

The move comes after the first case of coronavirus was detected in Ireland.

It was confirmed last night that a woman who had flown from northern Italy to Dublin Airport, before continuing her journey by land to Belfast - reportedly using public transport - has been diagnosed with the virus.

The church has also advised that during Mass only the celebrant should receive from the chalice, Holy Communion should be administered into the hands only and not onto the tongue, that holy water fonts should be drained and not used, and that those administering Holy Communion should wash their hands with particular care before and after the distribution.

Parishes have also been asked to consider providing alcohol-based hand sanitiser gels/facilities at all entrance and exit doors to the church, and also to ensure the regular cleaning of surfaces in the church that people touch such as door handles, tables etc.

The measures have been described as "preventative and should not in any way raise any existing levels of concern".

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