Nipah outbreak in Kerala: Kozhikode church to stop serving holy communion on tongues of faithful as precaution

Kozhikode: In the aftermath of the Nipah virus outbreak claiming 16 lives in Kerala, the Syro-Malabar church in Kozhikode has decided to stop serving the holy communion to the faithful on their tongues.

Representational image of people wearing safety masks as a precautionary measure after the 'Nipah' virus outbreak at Kozhikode Medical College in Kerala. PTI

Representational image of people wearing safety masks as a precautionary measure after the 'Nipah' virus outbreak. PTI

The Thamarassery diocese issued a circular to inform people about the church's decision that the holy communion — the sacrament commemorating the last supper in which bread and wine are placed on the tongues of church-goers — will henceforth be kept on their palms as a precautionary step, until further notice. The circular, issued by Bishop Mar Remigiose Inchananiyil said that baptisms, house warmings, marriages and prayer gatherings which can be postponed, should be re-scheduled considering the special circumstances in the wake of Nipah.

Believers need to be alert against the virus and strictly follow the directives issued by the state authorities to maintain extreme caution, he added. The circular further said that the catechism classes, which were to begin from Sunday, have been postponed till 10 June while family gatherings and meetings should also be avoided. Unnecessary journeys, public meetings and celebrations have to be avoided totally, the circular stated.

Eighteen positive cases of Nipah virus have been reported in Kerala since its outbreak in May, of which 16 have been fatal. The natural host of the virus is believed to be fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family, Pteropus genus.

Updated Date: Jun 02, 2018 19:48 PM

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