daily news

A visit to Sisaket Temple to observe the implementation of preventive measures during mass gathering

20200819-sisaket-temple-1
The chief monk of Sisaket Temple speaking to worshippers reminding them to wear their masks and to maintain physical distance in the temple.
Credit: WHO/I.Tan

COVID-19 is a reminder that our collective health is based on our individual actions. Every one of us needs to take action to protect ourselves, our family and our community.

While several countries in the Region are dealing with resurgences of localized community transmission, we must remain vigilant, and avoid complacency even when the number of cases remain low.

We know that COVID-19 spreads where there are “3 Cs” – crowds, close-contact settings and confined space. Mass gathering at temples may become a breeding ground from large crowd congregate. Working with the Ministry of Health, Lao Front for National Development and the Lao Buddhist Federation, we aim to help worshippers and leaders to prevent this from happening.

Wearing of masks

20200819-sisaket-temple-2
Monks were stationed at entrance to issue masks to worshippers.
Credit: WHO/I.Tan

20200819-sisaket-temple-3
Many elderly worshippers came prepared with their own fabric mask.
Credit: WHO/I.Tan

Alms giving

To minimise the contact between the monks and worshippers, the alms giving area was set up for worshippers, to allow offering to be made when prayers are in session, to stagger the crowd.

20200819-sisaket-temple-4
Worshippers of all ages participated in the alms giving ceremony.
Credit: WHO/I.Tan

20200819-sisaket-temple-5
Maintaining physical distancing was important to keep everyone safe.
Credit: WHO/I.Tan

20200819-sisaket-temple-6
Many elderly worshippers have to adjust to the “new normal” of alms giving.
Credit: WHO/I.Tan

Maintaining a safe distance

20200819-sisaket-temple-7
A worshipper found his own personal corner for prayer.
Credit: WHO/I.Tan

20200819-sisaket-temple-8
Worshippers are reminded to maintain a physical distance from each other even as they leave the temple.
Credit: WHO/I.Tan

For these protective practices to become the new normal, WHO will continue to work with the monks to gather their feedback on ways to keep worshippers safe, and document these good practices, as keeping the community safe is a priority to mitigate and contain the spread of COVID-19.