By Asia Samachar | SINGAPORE |
Singapore gurdwaras will proceed with their programmes, albeit with increased precautionary measures to battle the novel coronavirus, at a time when mosques are closed for a five-day cleanup and Catholic Church masses still suspended.
At least one gurdwara is looking at installing permanent infrastructure to live-stream its programmes for the benefit of members who are unable to participate physically, especially the elderly.
“The authorities have asked to stop senior-centric activities. In view of the Covid-19 situation, we are paying close attention to our elderly folks, especially those with underlying conditions.
“The live streaming will come in handy here them and those not well. We’ve had them on an ad-hoc basis in the past. Now, we’re looking at installing the infrastructure to make it a permanent feature,” Central Sikh gurdwara Board (CGSB) president Baljit Singh told Asia Samachar.
He said the live-streaming will also be useful for the Vaisakhi programmes, which are still on the table at the moment.
Last month, Singapore Khalsa Association (SKA) had announced the cancellation of the Vesakhi Mela 2020 which was scheduled for April 11-12.
Today marks the first day after the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic.
Nine new COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Singapore today (12 March), including two people who attended a mass religious gathering at a mosque in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. The latest confirmed cases bring Singapore’s total to 187, reports CNA.
In a drastic measure, Singapore Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli announced that all mosques will be closed for five days, beginning Friday, for cleaning so as to prevent the potential spread of the virus.
Two Singaporeans have contracted Covid-19 after attending the Jhor Qudamak Malaysia 2020 event at a mosque in Seri Petaling, Selangor. The event was reported to have attracted some 10,000 participants.
Masagos told a media briefing that 82 Singaporeans have been identified to have attended the event.
In another development, the Catholic Church in Singapore has decided to continue the suspension of masses at all its 32 churches, despite an earlier decision to bring them back.
“We are not helping the situation if we resume Masses at this time, simply because of the sheer numbers of Catholics packing in each service, and their fluidity in moving from one parish to another,” Singapore archbishop Reverend William Goh said in a letter.
“Furthermore, a large percentage of our parishioners belong to a vulnerable group – seniors with lower immunity.”
On 14 Feb, the church had announced the indefinite suspension of its mass, but then on 5 March decided to bring them back for mid-March.
In Malaysia, Minister for Religious Affairs Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri said that the Friday prayers will proceed with some adjustments like shortened sermons.
Congregation members have also been advised to make ablutions at home and wear face masks, while the mosque committees are to provide hand sanitisers as part of preventive measures.
Singapore gurdwaras take measures to fight coronavirus (Asia Samachar, 16 Feb 2020)
Singapore cancels Vaisakhi mela (Asia Samachar, 28 Feb 2020)