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Churches situated Near Containment Zones in Goa May not be allowed open so soon

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Churches in Goa
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One of the recent announcement made by the state government for opening of religious places in the Goa may have limited scope and the Churches that are closer to the containment zone may not be allowed to open so soon.

Covid-19 is spreading across the state and hardly any location in the state has remained untouched with the virus and since Goa also has a couple of Contentment Zones the re-opening of the religious places in such environment can only lead to an adverse situation.

Mormugao area that comprises of nine parishes of Vasco, Mormugao, Chicalim, Bogmalo, Desterro, Sancoale, St Jacinto, Cortalim and Baina, and opening of the religious places in this area can be led to the serious spread of community transmission and hence all the priests have decided to postpone reopening of the churches.

It may be recalled that a couple of priests connected to these areas had been tested positive for COVID in the past. According to the TOI reports, Goa’s first containment zone—Mangor Hill in Vasco—has more than 350 positive cases detected in June.      

“Besides the detected cases, there may be more positive persons who are asymptomatic. Reopening is risky as people travel from different parts for Mass. Most priests have decided not to reopen. The Church guidelines put the onus on each parish priest to decide if and when they want to open, only once they are prepared,” an official from the Church told TOI.

Meanwhile, the report further suggests that the Parish Priest of St Francis Xavier Church in Chicalim, Fr Bolmax Pereira said spiritual services continue to be made available through live streaming, despite the church remaining closed.    

“Irrespective of being near a government declared containment zone in Vasco, I feel Chicalim itself has turned into an undeclared containment zone as we already have 30 positive cases and counting. We will follow the directives of the Church and government and not open for public worship until further notice,” he said.

According to the sources, the archdiocese on Wednesday provided parishes with a roadmap for opening, prescribing strict guidelines to be followed including, precautionary measures to be taken, which will be verified by on-site inspections and vetted before written permission is issued for reopening of each church.

Besides the Mormagao, there are other places like Curtorim that has reported a spike in the Covid-19 cases with 30 reported cases till date may not see the reopening of the religious places so soon.   

“Two wards have been contained completely and it’s risky to begin services. Just because one parish opens, it doesn’t mean the others should,” parish priest of St Alex Church, Fr Joseph Salema told TOI.

The same case goes with the St Jerome Church in Mapusa the parish priest of St Jerome Church, Fr Denis Fernandes told TOI that reopening is tricky and will be deferred. The parish has over 7,000 parishioners.

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