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Vietnam Buddhist Sangha to hold head monks accountable for COVID-19 safety in pagodas

Vietnam Buddhist Sangha to hold head monks accountable for COVID-19 safety in pagodas

Sunday, May 09, 2021, 15:13 GMT+7
Vietnam Buddhist Sangha to hold head monks accountable for COVID-19 safety in pagodas
Visitors crowd Tam Chuc Pagoda Complex, Vietnam's largest Buddhist compound, on March 14, 2021 in this supplied photo.

In light of the re-emergence of COVID-19 in Vietnam, the Central Committee of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS) has called on pagodas to step up measures against the coronavirus on their premises.

The sangha requires lower-level monasteries to pay close attention to the latest developments of the pandemic, adhering strictly to guidance from the prime minister, the Ministry of Health, as well as orientations from provincial- and city-level authorities regarding COVID-19 prevention. 

The VBS requires monasteries to cease all religious gatherings and comply with local authorities' directives if they are located in those provinces and cities that have already recorded COVID-19 cases in the community, or are seeing a high risk of transmission.

The sangha also advises against organizing big gatherings for pagodas in other areas. 

Crowded events should only be held if utterly necessary and should secure approval from local authorities, the sangha said.

Organizers are required to uphold COVID-19 prevention guidelines, limit the number of attendees, demand health declaration from visitors, and strictly comply with the 5K recommendations, 'Khau trang" (face mask donning) - 'Khu khuan' (disinfection) - 'Khoang cach' (distancing) - 'Khong tu tap' (no gathering) - 'Khai bao y te' (health declaration).

Regarding the upcoming Vesak ceremony, slated for May 26, as well as the provincial-level Buddhist congress, scheduled for May in several locales, the VBS stated that each monastery and local authority should work out their own plans considering the epidemic developments.

Vesak is the most important holiday in the Buddhist calendar that celebrates three important events, namely the birth, full awakening, and passing away of the Buddha Siddhartha Gautama. The event falls on the full moon day of May.

Head monks of the pagodas would be held accountable in front of the law as well as the sangha if negligence of COVID-19 prevention measures is spotted on their premises. 

In the meantime, clergies should file health declaration, raise awareness of the pandemic for monks and local communities, and send themselves to self-isolation after they have been to outbreak sites. 

The VBS statement repeatedly called on monasteries to diligently monitor and report on cases of border jumpering in order to prevent outbreaks in their communities.

On Friday, a staffer working at Tam Chuc Pagoda, Vietnam's largest Buddhist compound in northern Ha Nam Province, was diagnosed with COVID-19, which gave rise to fear of COVID-19 contagion as the pagoda welcomes tens of thousands of visitors every weekend. 

The pagoda was closed on April 29, when a cluster of coronavirus infections was found in Ly Nhan District, Ha Nam Province. 

Vietnam has documented 3,245 COVID-19 cases as of Sunday morning, with 2,602 recoveries and 35 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health.

The country has recorded 256 local infections in 24 provinces and cities since April 27.

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Tuoi Tre News


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