Dear fellow brothers and sisters at Chinese and Australian Baptist Church Thornleigh,
We pray that this communication finds you well. We want to inform you about the Church’s response regarding the recent events surrounding the Coronavirus (2019nCoV).
As you are no doubt aware, the virus has travelled to Sydney via those who have recently returned from China. There is much information online about this; some are valid, but much is speculative. It is best to use reputable sources (such as the World Health Organisation https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses) for seeking accurate information.
The immediate response involves the containment of those infected, as well as prevention of further infections. Scientists all over the world are working on the treatment and vaccine, which will take some time.
Whilst everyone is susceptible, we can effectively minimise infection if we follow a few simple principles:
If you are healthy and do not present any symptoms of sickness:
- Maintain hygiene by regular washing of hands
- Avoid unnecessary physical contact with others
- Take care in handling of food and sharing of equipment
If you do have any symptoms of illness, such as fever, sore throat, coughs or breathing problems, then further to the above practices:
- Consider isolating yourself from others as much as possible
- See a doctor for an accurate diagnosis
- If you do have a need to go out, please take caution in:
- Wearing masks
- Avoiding places where there are lots of people
- Refrain from close physical contact with others
For an extensive list of things you can do, please refer to https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public
Whilst the consequence of being infected is serious, and the numbers of those infected (and potentially infected) seem staggering, the likelihood of contracting it in Australia’s current climate, along with taking the standard precautions listed above, is low. This is supported by past experiences such as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS back in 2003).
As a responsible organisation, CABC-T is also implementing appropriate measures to ensure a proportionate response. We have taken into consideration responses from the Government, as well as our sister churches.
The measures we are implementing will be as follows:
- Because there is evidence that the virus can be present in people without any outward signs or symptoms, we encourage families and individuals who have recently returned from China to self-isolate for 14 days.
- If you have not been in China, but have presented mild cold symptoms such as a runny nose or a cough, we ask that you wear a face mask when attending church activities to keep yourself and others alert of precautionary practices. Please note that the church will only have limited supply of masks due to general lack of availability.
- If you are feeling unwell or have a high temperature (>37.4 degrees Celsius), please refrain from attending church activities.
- Please avoid unnecessary physical contact, such as shaking of hands or embracing.
- Hand sanitisers will be supplied for use throughout the church (Main hall, side hall, the kitchen and the Manse).
- Disposable cups will be supplied in church as an alternative to re-useable cups.
Lunches will still be provided on Sundays with standard precautions in place, such as use of gloves and face masks.
Wafer breads wrapped in plastic will be distributed for those who partake Communion this Sunday.
For any organised activities outside of the Sunday worship services, please apply the above principles, consider the risk appetite of those attending and exercise wisdom in determining whether the activity should go ahead or not.
Above all, let us pray and entrust our concerns to the Lord's will and providence, interceding and caring for those who are affected by this circumstance. May God's grace and love be shown through our attitudes towards our loved ones, friends and the wider community.
We will monitor the progress of this regularly and inform you of any changes to our practices as necessary.