By LIZ GRIFFITHS firstname.lastname@example.org
Anglican churches in the Algarve say they have no plans to follow the Catholic Church’s decision to take extra precautionary measures during services as a result of swine flu.
Senior Chaplain of the St Vincent’s Anglican Chaplaincy, Father Haynes Hubbard, told the Algarve Resident: “We would only make official changes to the service in the event of a pandemic. We do not consider it to be a pressing matter at the moment.”
All Saints Anglican Church already follows hygienic procedures as a matter of course. Reverend Jackie Nevill said: “At All Saints, we wash hands before Communion and are meticulous with hygiene when administering the chalice.
“We use fortified wine with a high alcohol content that should disinfect and if communicants are concerned they may dip the wafer rather than taking wine from the cup.”
She added: “Our procedures differ from that of the Roman Catholic Church in that we give the wafer into the communicant’s hands, not into the mouth.”
The Catholic Church’s highest ruling body, the Portuguese Episcopal Conference, approved new measures for mass ceremonials in Portugal following discussions with the Ministry of Health.
Catholic priest Padre Firmino Serra from the Faro Diocese told the Algarve Resident: “A list of rules has been sent by the Bishop in Lisbon, but these have not yet been implemented in the Algarve. “They are just basic hygiene rules such as not greeting parishioners with hugs or kisses and not giving the wafer into the mouth but into their hands instead.”
He added: “Our congregations are not worried and it is no cause for alarm. These are simply precautionary measures.”
Father Haynes Hubbard also said that the Anglican congregation is aware of the precautions that could be taken during the service: “If people prefer not to shake hands during the saying of the peace they can choose not to.
“We have made our congregation aware of the problem and what we shall do if the matter becomes more pressing.”
Second case in Algarve
Meanwhile, the Portuguese press has reported that an Olhanense player had been diagnosed with Influenza A.
According to daily newspaper Correio da Manhã, the player was admitted to Faro hospital on Sunday with flu symptoms and was later diagnosed with the illness. He was sent home the same day. According to A Bola newspaper, the Olhanense team players have taken preventative medicine.
A training session planned for Monday and a game with Louletano on Wednesday were both cancelled this week.
So far, 239 people have been diagnosed with the H1N1 virus in Portugal, two of them in the Algarve, according to the Health Ministry.
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