Sidmouth church's swine flu precautions

SWINE FLU fears have stopped Sidmouth s Catholic church from offering wine to its congregation in a bid to prevent the virus from spreading.

SWINE FLU fears have stopped Sidmouth's Catholic church from offering wine to its congregation in a bid to prevent the virus from spreading.

The Church of the Most Precious Blood, in Radway, has only been offering bread and not a holy chalice drink as part of the sacred custom since world health bosses declared a global flu pandemic earlier this month.

A spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Plymouth said letters were sent out to places of worship last weekend advising priests that the ritual should not be followed at the moment.

The Reverend Daniel Longford, Parish Priest for the Roman Catholic Church of Sidmouth, confirmed the church has adhered to the advice. He said: "We have also stopped giving Holy Communion on the tongue, now it must be on the hand.

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"Some people don't like it but they are getting used to it. Its for the benefit of everybody, we don't want to spread it in any way."

The diocese of Plymouth and its bishop, Christopher Budd, administers churches in Sidmouth and Devon.

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A statement on the Catholic Church in England and Wales website, said: "As members of the church it is right that we take every reasonable care of each other's well being.

"At the present time, for example, we should take those precautions which help avoid spreading the virus."

Ten Exeter University students tested positive for the virus on Wednesday

The respiratory disease which emerged in Mexico and spread across the world is the first flu pandemic for 40 years.

Swine flu is most easily past on when a person coughs or sneezes. Once airborne it can easily be breathed in by other people, leading to the virus multiplying.

Transmission can also occur when a person touches a surface with flu viruses on it such as a door handle or tissues.

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