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Coronavirus advice from Church of England – 25/2/2020

Date: February 27, 2020

St Mary Magdalene Church
Dear friends,
The spread of Coronavirus is a matter of international concern and please also keep in prayer all those who are unwell, those quarantined, all medical staff caring for the sick and for public health/government officials in the policy decisions being made.
I am pasting below the current guidance from the Church of England (February 25th 2020).
In summary, services of Holy Communion are to continue as usual but with use of hand sanitiser for clergy, communion assistants and servers. Those receiving the chalice are asked to refrain from ‘intinction’. Any questions, please do be in touch.

Revd.Philippa Boardman (Vicar)

from the Church of England website
The threat posed by COVID-19 has been assessed by the Chief Medical Officer as ‘moderate’. This permits the Government to plan for all eventualities. The risk to individuals remains low.
Current Government advice is that individuals should follow good hygiene practices including:
carrying tissues and using them to catch coughs and sneezes, and binning the tissue;
washing hands with soap and water (for 20 seconds) or using sanitiser gel to kill germs.
Advice has also been issued to travellers who have returned to the UK from a number of countries.
This list has been revised on 25th February and now includes parts of Northern Italy.
Anyone who has returned to the UK from any of these areas in the last 14 days and develops symptoms of cough or fever or shortness of breath, should immediately:
stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with the flu;
call NHS 111 to inform them of your recent travel to the country.
Long-standing government advice has been that ‘In a pandemic, it makes good sense to take precautions to limit the spread of disease by not sharing common vessels for food and drink.’ COVID-19 has NOT been declared a pandemic.

Churches should already be following best-hygiene practices that include advising parishioners with coughs and sneezes to refrain from handshaking during The Peace and to receive Communion in one kind only.
At present, there is no Government advice that suggests the use of the Common Cup should be suspended.
It is also best practice for churches to have hand-sanitisers available for parishioners to use.
In addition, priests presiding at the Eucharist, communion administrators and servers should wash their hands, preferably with an alcohol-based (minimum 60%) hand-sanitiser.
Intinction is not recommended (even by celebrants or communion-administrators) as this represents an infection transmission route as well as a risk to those with certain allergies.

Best hygiene practice should continue to be observed in all pastoral contacts.
Updated advice from Public Health England on Tuesday 25th February 2020