Covid19 Corona Virus Update

16th March 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said everyone in the UK should now avoid “non-essential” travel and contact with others and to fight coronavirus. He said people should work from home and avoid pubs, club, theatres where possible, as part of a range of stringent new measures.

Anyone in the same house as someone who has a cough or fever will also have to isolate for 14 days, he said.

All elderly (those over 70) and vulnerable people must also begin self-isolating within days. This self-isolation must be continued for 12 weeks, which means staying at home except for taking exercise out-of-doors whilst keeping a good distance from all other people.

In the first of a series of daily briefings on the virus, which causes the Covid-19 disease, Mr Johnson said “drastic action” was needed as the UK approaches “the fast growth part of the upward curve” in the number of cases. Mr Johnson said that by next weekend, those with the most serious health conditions must be “largely shielded from social contact for around 12 weeks”.

The Kirk Session met on Wednesday evening, 11th of March and received a detailed analysis and recommendations from a senior NHS consultant on ways we might proceed in the handling of the threat of this virus. We are in the process, based on information received at the meeting and from both the offices of the Church in Edinburgh and the Glasgow Presbytery, of putting together a package of measures which is designed to minimise the risk to the Clergy, Elders, Congregation and visitors to the Cathedral with particular emphasis on the most vulnerable.
As the First Minister’s announcement came late Thursday afternoon, we’ve not yet had time to consult with members of the Session nor those involved in the preparation of the two special services to mark the 60th anniversary of the Cheapside fire, not to mention the other services scheduled to take place in the Cathedral in the coming weeks and months. The decision has now been taken to cancel the service taking place at 2:00 pm on Sunday, the 29th of March. We will be consulting with the Fire Service with respect to the service scheduled on Friday and update this page accordingly. In addition, the Service for Hutchesons’ School scheduled for 17th March has also been cancelled at the school’s request.
In the mean time, the morning service this Sunday, the 15th of March at 11:00 am, and Choral Evensong at 4:00 will take place as normal.
Public Health Scotland and the UK Government recommend that you should take usual infection prevention precautions including:
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available
  • It is particularly important after taking public transport to use sanitiser on your hands
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Carry tissues to catch coughs and sneezes and bin the tissue
  • If you feel unwell, stay at home, do not attend worship or go to work or to school