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Church Infection Control Group starts work, 14.05.20

Church Infection Control Group starts work

Thursday 14 May 2020 

The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland Covid-19 Working Group, tasked with the creation of an Infection Control Protocol to govern the phased reopening of churches for public worship met for the first time yesterday (Wednesday 13 May). Chaired by Sir Harry Burns, Scotland’s former Chief Medical Officer and Professor of Global Public Health at the University of Strathclyde, the group will focus on two parallel work streams: Infection Control and Liturgical Norms.

The drafting of infection control standards will be overseen by Sir Harry Burns and Professor Stephany Biello, Professor of Neuroscience and Biopsychology and Dean for Learning and Teaching in Science and Engineering at the University of Glasgow, who has joined the group.

 The creation of new liturgical advice which will govern the celebration of Mass and other sacraments, will be led by Bishop Hugh Gilbert together with Canon Thomas Boyle, Canon Thomas Shields and Fr. Gerry MacGuiness.

Commenting on the meeting, Sir Harry said;

“I’m very pleased that the Working Group on Infection Control has started to work and delighted to welcome Professor Stephany Biello as a member. Her expertise will be invaluable to the group. We are keenly aware, that the goal of reopening churches will be reached only after careful planning and preparation, always taking account of best infection control practice and in step with Scottish Government guidance.” 

“I extend my thanks to all those contributing to the work of the group and assure the Catholic community that Scotland’s bishops are determined to draw on best practice from around the world to allow our churches to be opened again in a phased and safe way.”




Peter Kearney 
Catholic Media Office 
07968 122291


Note to Editors:


The full membership of the COVID-19 working group is shown below:


Sir Harry Burns, Professor of Global Public Health at the University of Strathclyde

Professor Stephany Biello, University of Glasgow

Bishop Hugh Gilbert, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland
Fr Gerard Maguiness, General Secretary to the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland 

Canon Thomas Boyle, St. Mary’s Parish, Greenock

Canon Thomas Shields, St. Fillan’s Parish, Crief

Anthony Horan, Director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office

Peter Kearney, Director of the Scottish Catholic Media Office