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Fr. David Khan delivers his sermon during Sunday Mass at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help RC church in San Fernando.

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Instead of greeting people with hugs and handshakes, Roman Catholic priest Father David Khan yesterday urged worshippers to give “sweet eyes,” (winks) and peace signs as a precaution to COVID-19.

This as the risk of COVID-19 spreading to the Caribbean was deemed very high by the Caribbean Public Health Authority, (CARPHA).

Delivering his sermon during Sunday mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in San Fernando, Father Khan defended the church’s decision to discontinue the distribution of sacramental wine during communion.

The wine, which represents the blood of Christ, is usually distributed along with unleavened bread, which symbolises the body of Christ.

“Many people are saying why does the church stop distributing the blood of Christ. The blood of Jesus cannot be contaminated. The truth is the vessel holding the blood is made of metal. The COVID virus when it lands of metal, it lives for nine hours,” Khan said.

He added that if someone touches the cup and passes it on, then a spread can take place.

“This is just a safeguard for preventing any spread. We know the blood of Jesus cannot be contaminated but the vessel can. The virus is very contagious. It is found in droplets so the possibility of the virus touching someone’s tongue and spreading to someone else, that is how it will spread. We need not be listening to people who are questioning us. We need to listen to our church. The Lord is speaking to us through the Church,” he added.

He noted that Trinbagonians loved contact but noted that this must soon stop.

“God forbid that our country experiences this. We pray that it may never come but in case it does, we have to take precautions. Trinidadians already know how to express love without touching, the sign of peace, or a sweet eye. When it is intimate and you are a distance apart, look at their faces and give a sweet eye. Let our holiness shine through,” Khan added.

Last week Archbishop Jason Gordon said the church was on high medical alert as it prepared for COVID- 19. The virus has infected 109,696 people in over 95 countries, out of which 3,802 have died. Almost 61,000 have recovered.