Stop crowded religious gatherings: home affairs ministry

By Viet Tuan   June 6, 2021 | 02:35 am PT
Stop crowded religious gatherings: home affairs ministry
The headquarters of the Revival Ekklesia Mission, a self-described Christian congregation, in Go Vap District, HCMC. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has asked religious organizations to halt crowded gatherings, after a Christian congregation triggered a spate of Covid-19 infections by breaching prescribed safety protocol.

The Government Committee for Religious Affairs under the Ministry of Home Affairs has also asked places of worship and other religious establishments to put up warning signs in front of their facilities as a pandemic prevention measure.

In a document sent Friday to all religious organizations, the committee said: "The fourth coronavirus wave was caused by new, dangerous and fast-spreading virus strains, making it difficult for healthcare personnel to trace, zone and stamp out the outbreaks."

Localities nationwide should instruct dignitaries and believers to strictly comply with pandemic prevention regulations, it said.

Head of religious establishments with suspected infections must coordinate with local authorities and health staff to declare travel schedule of the suspects and comply with quarantine regulations set by the health ministry.

"The heads and other representatives of religious organizations and religious establishments will be held responsible under the law if they do not comply with pandemic prevention regulations, causing further outbreaks," the committee said.

The directions come as Ho Chi Minh City grapples with a surge in community transmissions over the past week, mainly linked to a Covid-19 cluster at Christian congregation called Revival Ekklesia Mission in Go Vap District.

Infections were first detected among its members before the virus spread to 21 of the city's 22 districts, and then to eight other provinces in the south and Central Highlands. The group has been placed under criminal investigation for spreading Covid-19 in the community.

HCMC, which is under two-week social distancing campaign starting May 31, has recorded 365 infections in the fourth wave that hit Vietnam starting April 27.

HCMC and Hanoi, Vietnam's two biggest metropolises, have already suspended all crowded religious activities.

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