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Malaysian Catholics avoid kissing cross to prevent SARS

In a bid to prevent the spread of the deadly SARS virus, Malaysian Catholics have been told they do not need to kiss the cross in Easter ceremonies.

Instead, they can simply bow before the cross, the Kota Kinabalu diocese said in a circular to all churches in the capital of Sabah state on the island of Borneo.

Churchgoers have also been advised to bow to their fellow Christians instead of shaking hands during the "sign of the peace" ceremony, the Star newspaper said.

During Holy Communion, bread can be placed on the hands instead of the tongue, the circular said.

Malaysia has reported four "probable" cases of the rapidly spreading atypical pneumonia known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which has killed more than 140 people worldwide.


500 more placed in quarantine (Toronto Star)
General Absolution latest anti-SARS measure in Singapore (10/4/03)

16 Apr 2003