Churchgoers will no longer be allowed to receive Holy Communion on the tongue as the church in Malta says it is taking extra precautions to avoid the spread of coronavirus.

In a series of directives issued on Monday, Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Galea-Curmi said that as a “precautionary measure” in order to avoid the risk of the new coronavirus spreading, Holy Communion must not be administered on the tongue. 

“Those celebrating mass must also make sure to disinfect their hands properly before Mass and, if need be, before Holy Communion,” the bishop said. 

Lay people should take the same precautions, he said. 

“It is our responsibility to take all the necessary measures to avoid the spread of illnesses, especially in places where large groups of people congregate, such as churches and church halls,” Mgr. Galea-Curmi said in his circular. 

The church’s move comes just a day after the Maltese health authorities announced all passengers arriving in Malta will be screened by thermal cameras, whether they were travelling through the airport or the cruise liner and catamaran terminals.

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