Hong Kong, China, 13 February 2020 -- As Cardinal Charles appealed for prayers to our Blessed Mother for all coronavirus victims, in particular the greatest number of infections and victims in China yesterday in the ANS and Boscolink news, let us present the most recent situation of the “Greater China” which normally encompasses mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.
The disease was first reported in late December 2019, that the medical staff in Wuhan, the capital of Central China’s Hubei Province, noticed unusual symptoms of viral pneumonia. But unfortunately not until 20 January China finally confirmed that human-to-human transmission was indeed taking place. And the drastic measure of closing down the city was imposed on 23 January. But it was too late, and the epidemic was quickly spread in the province and other parts in China.
The first confirmed case in Hong Kong was reported on 23 January. It was a 39-year-old man who lived in Wuhan and took the high-speed rail to come back to Hong Kong for the Chinese New Year family reunion.
After the first confirmed case, gradually there were patients being confirmed to be infected by the virus almost every day in Hong Kong. As of 12 February, in Hong Kong, there are 49 confirmed cases and one death; in Macau, there are 10 confirmed cases, and now there are no more confirmed cases for 9 consecutive days; in Taiwan, there are 18 confirmed cases; in China, there are 44653 confirmed cases of which 33366 are in Hubei province, 1113 deaths of which 1068 are in the same province, and 4740 patients have recovered.
As the situation of the coronavirus outbreak in Hong Kong and Macau is getting more and more critical, both Dioceses have taken some urgent pastoral measures since the beginning of February: in order that gatherings involving a large number of people may be minimized, the faithful may adopt either watching the Sunday Mass Webcast and receive Holy Communion spiritually; or meditating on the Sunday liturgical text, reading the Bible or saying the Rosary, as alternatives to attending Sunday Mass. The churches in Macau have been closed until 19 Feb while in Hong Kong Sunday and weekday Masses in churches and chapels remain unchanged. However, members of the faithful who continue to attend Sunday or weekday Masses should put on face-masks. Singing is suspended (except for the “Alleluia” and “the Mystery of Faith”). On the past Sunday, at Saint Anthony Parish, one of the two Salesian parishes in Hong Kong, there were about 60% of the usual attendants of Sunday Mass caming for the Holy Mass.
As the Covid-19 (Corona virus disease-2019) is still in progress, let us continue to pray in accordance with the appeal made to us by Cardinal Charles Maung Bo SDB.