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Hospital chaplains photocopying Bible to stop spread of coronavirus

by Tola Mbakwe

Hospital chaplains are doing their part in tackling the spread of coronavirus by not using their Bibles. Instead, they are photocopying pages of the Bible and prayer books and destroying them after reading last rites. 

Alfred Banya is the head of chaplaincy at King's College Hospital Trust in London and said avoiding direct use of the Bible is part of new safety measures clergy are implementing. 

He told the Sunday Telegraph: "There are clear guidelines from faith groups about giving sacrament of the sick and anointing and I don't take prayer books or Bibles inside.

"If I need to read out a prayer, I will photocopy it so I can throw it in the bin."

Banya said hospital chaplains are especially busy during the coronavirus pandemic. They are responding to up to twelve end of life requests a day, which is double than what they usually do at the trust's three sites.

The busyness means that they are also spending less time with patients. Before the outbreak they would spend 45 minutes with patients, but can now only spend 10 minutes.

Bayna also said he has noticed an increase in medical staff wanting spiritual support to process grief they are faced with on a daily basis. 

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