JAKARTA, Indonesia 

Catholic Church officials in Manila, the capital city of the Philippines, said Christmas carol activities for parishes this year would be prohibited due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, local media reported Thursday.

The Manila Apostolic administrator, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, said in a statement that churches in the archdiocese were told not to organize such activities, according to the Philippine News Agency.

“We have already instructed our parishes not to organize carolings,” Philippine News Agency quoted Pabillo as saying.

The Manila auxiliary bishop noted that there was no formal order against holding Christmas caroling but that they had been told not to verbally in a meeting earlier this month.

“There’s no letter. I just told them in our zoom meeting,” he added.

The report cited Jerome Secillano, the executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines-Permanent Committee on Public Affairs (CBCP-PCPA), who said the move came as a part of measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Secillano underlined that doing so would protect the public and choir members since, according to experts, the virus can easily be transmitted through singing.

*Writing by Rhany Chairunissa Rufinaldo from Anadolu Agency’s Indonesian-language service in Jakarta

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