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Church News

Churches in Paris take precaution after priest is diagnosed with COVID-19

by Press Association

The archbishop of Paris has asked priests to change the way they do communion to prevent spread of the coronavirus.

Bishop Michel Aupetit's instructions came after a priest in the city tested positive for the illness. 

Priests should no longer put the sacramental bread in the mouths of the faithful and instead place it in their hands.

He also asked worshippers not to drink wine directly from a shared chalice or shake hands at Mass and requested to have church fonts emptied of holy water.

The bishop's instructions were listed in a statement from the Paris diocese. 

The priest tested positive for the virus on Friday after returning from Italy.

Meanwhile, France is banning all indoor public gatherings of more than 5,000 people to slow the spread of coronavirus cases and recommending that people no longer greet each other with kisses.

The number of French cases of the coronavirus strain known as Covid-19 has almost doubled to 100. Of those, 86 are in hospital, two have died and 12 have recovered, said the head of France's national health service, Jerome Salomon.

The cancellation of large gatherings in confined spaces was announced earlier by health minister Olivier Veran after special government meetings that focused on responses to the epidemic.

Three more patients in England have tested positive for coronavirus, including a staff member at an infant school in Berkshire.

The total number of confirmed cases in the UK is now 23.

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