Religious events can go on with safety measures: Government
Ministers meet religious leaders to give guidance on precautions to prevent transmission of coronavirus
The authorities have continued to assure religious leaders that religious events and worship can carry on despite the coronavirus outbreak, as long as appropriate precautionary measures are taken and enhanced personal hygiene is emphasised.
This comes as some churches and temples here scaled back or scrapped services in light of the two clusters linked to churches.
Yesterday, Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu and Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung met with Buddhist, Taoist, Sikh and Hindu leaders to update them on the Covid-19 situation and give guidance on measures. Mr Gan and Ms Fu held a similar meeting with church leaders last Friday.
About a third of the 77 cases confirmed so far visited or worked at churches - including The Life Church and Missions in Paya Lebar and Grace Assembly of God, which has premises in Tanglin and Bukit Batok.
The latter is the biggest local cluster with 18 linked cases, and both churches have stopped all activities and meetings.
Roman Catholics stayed home over the weekend as public masses were suspended. In a letter last Friday, Archbishop William Goh said the situation was proving difficult to contain, and temperature-taking is not foolproof.
Megachurch City Harvest cancelled services at its Jurong West premises and has suspended its weekend services at Suntec Convention Centre for the rest of the month.
The Singapore Buddhist Federation has advised temples to try to have fewer, or scale down or cancel, religious gatherings.
Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery in Sin Ming suspended all events, group chanting and classes, and may consider postponing the upcoming Qing Ming prayers late next month and early April.
Still, it was business as usual at mosques and many other churches with precautions such as mandatory temperature screening and increased frequency of cleaning in place.
National Council of Churches of Singapore president Terry Kee told The New Paper last week that churches will continue to provide worship services but requested those who are unwell to stay home.
The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore encouraged Muslims to bring their own mats to mosques and to avoid shaking hands to minimise contact.
The Health Ministry and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth said in a joint statement yesterday that worshippers, volunteers and staff who are unwell should see a doctor and avoid going to religious events or places of worship.
This includes mild symptoms such as cough, sore throat and runny nose, as not all cases of Covid-19 had a fever at the onset of symptoms.