The Presbyterian Church has taken a page from the book of Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh and told its congregations to use a common sense approach with less paranoia and anxiety about the coronavirus.
Instead, the church has recommended “more fervent prayer with precaution” as it joined other churches in issuing safety guidelines as the virus continues its rapid spread throughout the world, including the Caribbean.
Thousands have died from the virus, known as covid19, since it was discovered in China last December, and Deyalsingh has said it is inevitable that it will reach TT.
The Presbyterian Synod’s general secretary, Terrence Wade, and moderator the Rt Rev Joy Abdul-Mohan, have responded to the minister’s call for religious and other bodies to take a proactive approach to safeguarding their members.
After consultation with its own medical specialist, the synod issued a joint circular on March 6 to all clerks of sessions to observe precautionary measures with respect to Holy Communion and regular services.
Elders and ministers preparing and distributing Holy Communion elements have been reminded to sanitise their hands before and after distribution.
The minister has underscored that coughing or sneezing into a handkerchief or rag and putting it in a pocket or bag is tantamount to providing an incubator (where the virus can grow) and the church has told its members to use tissues and throw them away in closed bins.
The virus is primarily spread through touching the eyes, nose and mouth, so the church has counselled members to limit the “sign of peace” to a discretionary greeting.
Some churches have suggested the “Namaste” greeting.
All are advised to seek medical attention and stay isolated if they exhibit any flu-like symptoms.