COVID-19 deaths of Serbian clerics highlight virus worries

As coronavirus cases surge globally, the COVID-19 deaths of two senior Serbian Orthodox Church clerics one who died weeks after presiding over the funeral of the other are raising questions about whether some religious institutions are doing enough to slow the spread of the virus.

More reports are emerging about people who attended religious services and contract the virus some after parishioners seemed to ignore the pleas of church and health officials officials to wear masks, practice social distancing and other steps to combat the virus thats killed nearly 1.4 million people worldwide.

In Belgrade, many mourners paying their respects Saturday to Serbian Orthodox Church Patriarch Irinej ignored precautions and some kissed the glass shield covering the patriarchs body, despite warnings not to do so from Serbias epidemiologists.

That scene unfolded three weeks after the 90-year-old Irinej led prayers at the funeral of Bishop Amfilohije in nearby Montenegro, an event attended by thousands where many kissed the bishops remains in an open casket.

The highly publicised episodes happened as Serbia reported thousands of newly confirmed infections daily in the country of 7 million and as the government in recent days has tightened measures to hold off the virus. As the countrys health system strains to treat more and more people for the virus, some patients in Belgrade hospitals with less serious conditions are being transferred to hospitals elsewhere.


(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)

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