Novel coronavirus guidelines

Given the recent media attention around the novel coronavirus, the diocesan Health & Safety Working Group (HSWG) would like to refer ministry units to the Ministry of Health website for updates.

The Ministry of Health has reported that there are currently no cases in New Zealand and the risk of widespread outbreak remains low. They are closely monitoring the situation and are following guidance from the World Health Organisation.

The HSWG advises parishes to follow Ministry of Health guidelines to prevent the spread of infection. These include:
  • regular hand washing (for at least 20 seconds)
  • practise cough etiquette – maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing and wash hands thoroughly
  • thoroughly cook meat and eggs
  • avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

Those who have recently been to mainland China, transited through China, or have been in close contact with someone confirmed with the virus should self-isolate for 14 days until it is clear that the incubation period has passed and no symptoms have developed. As a large number of people gather in our parishes, including those who are vulnerable, the HSWG recommends that you communicate this advice to your congregants.

The diocese recommends that ministry units also review best hygiene practice around administration of the eucharist, including clean hands for all administrators and using silver chalices, clean purificators, and high alcohol content wine such as port. Parishioners should be discouraged from intinction.

Parishes should also refer to the attached document for specific guidelines on Healthcare Concerns and Liturgical Practices. It is important that you read this document.