Coronavirus: Dubai church to close facility to worshippers

Dubai church, volunteers, worshippers, facility, close

Dubai - Decision was made internally to support UAE's efforts to curb the spread of the virus.


Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Mon 16 Mar 2020, 2:47 PM

Last updated: Mon 16 Mar 2020, 6:54 PM

A church in Dubai has made an internal decision to close its doors to worshippers starting today (March 16) until March 30, Khaleej Times has learnt.
St Thomas Orthodox Cathedral in Oud Metha, Dubai, has announced it will remain closed to support the UAE government's efforts to curb the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, said Father Ninan Philip Panackamattom, vicar at the religious institution.
"No government order has been issued in this matter; however, we made an internal decision to stay closed to support the UAE's efforts," said Father Ninan. Mass prayers will be on live telecast on the church's social media pages, he added.
"Starting March 16, we are encouraging all believers to offer their prayers at home. We are praying that the threat perception will subside by Friday, April 3, on Holy Week a week ahead of Easter," added Father Ninan.
St Thomas Cathedral has an average of 1,000 believers attending mass every Friday and has been taking precautionary measures since March 3. A significant ritual at the Orthodox church - the Kiss of Peace, where devotees would take each other's hands - was temporarily stopped as well, according to Father Ninan.
Only morning prayers at Dubai Gurudwara
Meanwhile, the Guru Nanak Darbar in Dubai has stopped all evening prayers at the Gurudwara. "Starting Tuesday, March 17, the Gurudwara will only be open for morning prayers from 5 am to 7.30 am. There will be no evening prayers," said Surender Singh Kandhari, chairman of Gurunanak Darbar in Jebel Ali.
"Furthermore, only karah prasad (a semolina-based sweet) will be served to devotees. Langar will not be served," he added.

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