As cases mounted, the bishop suspended services. Cultural activities, festivals and meetings with more than 20 people have been banned. Bishop Ðặng appeals to the faithful to follow government preventive measures. Catholics are playing a leading role in promoting pandemic containment practices.
Hanoi (AsiaNews) – For months, Vietnam has been one of the countries that best managed the novel coronavirus pandemic, reporting few cases and no deaths.
This seems to have changed in recent weeks with an outbreak in Đà Nẵng, a tourist spot in the central party of the country, where cases have been multiplying exponentially resulting in Vietnam’s first fatalities.
As a result, the government introduced strict containment measures, which led the local bishop to cancel all Eucharistic celebrations and pastoral initiatives and to call on the faithful to help people in economic difficulty or sick with the virus.
In a note to the priests, religious and lay people of his diocese, Bishop Giuse (Joseph) Ðặng Ðức Ngân urges Catholics to closely follow the health regulations issued by the Prime Minister of Vietnam and the government regarding COVID-19.
With regard to new restrictions, all cultural and religious festivals and meetings with more than 20 people have been banned in the provinces of Đà Nẵng and Quảng Nam.
In view of the situation, all 50 parishes in the Diocese of Đà Nẵng are no longer performing public Masses. Equally, pastoral activities stopped on 26 July until further notice.
Catholics will not be able to go to church, but everyone is asked to pray at home to Our Lady, recite the Rosary, follow the Mass online and carry out charitable activities in their community or the streets, helping the neediest.
Local Catholics have heeded the call and are spreading information about what to do to contain the novel coronavirus virus and protect human health.
Tens of thousands of local Catholics as well as millions of residents in Đà Nẵng and neighbouring Quảng Nam joined forces against this "strange pandemic", showing how aware and conscientious the people of Vietnam are.
The Diocese of Đà Nẵng, which includes the city and the nearby province of Quảng Nam, covers an area of almost 12,00 km2 with about 73,000 members or 2.8 per cent of a population of 2.8 million. It is served by 110 priests in 50 parishes; some 925 catechists teach more 10,000 people.
In Vietnam, the first major coronavirus epidemic broke out in late July after months of containment and zero deaths. So far 747 cases have been reported – 345 active, 392 recoveries and 10 deaths – but the number is expected to rise.
Since the outbreak was confined to Đà Nẵng, 214 cases were reported between 25 July and 6 August, 200 still active, six recoveries and eight deaths.
The neighbouring province of Quảng Nam reported 62 cases of COVID-19, 55 undergoing treatment, five recoveries and two deaths.
Overall, 276 novel coronavirus cases have been reported at the diocesan level, 255 still active, 11 recoveries and 10 deaths.