Churches may be allowed to have larger gatherings than outlined by Government

Churches may be allowed to have larger gatherings than outlined by Government
A woman says a prayer at St. Augustine’s Church, Washington Street, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

THE government's expert advisory group on coronavirus is to consider allowing larger gatherings in churches following the latest announcement of zero coronavirus deaths in Ireland.

The National Health Public Emergency Team (NPHET) reported no new coronavirus-linked deaths in its daily update today.

It is the third time since March that no deaths have been reported in a 24-hour period.

The death toll in Ireland remains at 1,715.

There were six new confirmed cases of the virus on Sunday, taking to 25,379 the total since the outbreak began in Ireland.

Thanking medics and the public for their sacrifices, Mr Harris tweeted: "We have had no new deaths of #Covid19 reported. Days like this are a cause for hope & reenergise us all to keep going & to follow closely public health advice."

Meanwhile, the Government has asked the NPHET to review the guidance on number limitations for church services when they resume on June 29.

On Saturday, a senior cleric described the 50-person limit as strange and disappointing.

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin suggested the size of congregation should reflect the size of each church when places of worship reopen.

Churches were set to be subject to the Government's revised restrictions on public gatherings that come into effect at the end of the month.

The limits are set at 50 people indoors and 200 people outdoors from June 29.

On July 20, these limits will rise to 100 people indoors and 500 people outdoors.

On Sunday, a Government spokesman said: "The Government will ask NPHET to give further consideration to the maximum number of people allowed to attend church and religious services.

"The virus is known to spread when people are at close quarters in an enclosed space for a prolonged period of time.

"Large churches, however, can accommodate many more than 50 or 100 people even with strict social distancing. Services last less than 90 minutes."

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