Irish priest in Hong Kong would 'rather die' than abandon parish during Coronavirus outbreak
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Irish priest in Hong Kong would 'rather die' than abandon parish during Coronavirus outbreak

AN IRISH priest is refusing to abandon his parish in Hong Kong despite an outbreak of the deadly Coronavirus in the region.

There have been 62 confirmed cases of the virus in the city and two deaths.

The Diocese of Hong Kong has moved to temporarily suspend public Masses and cancelled the Ash Wednesday liturgy signalling the start of Lent.

Fr Michael Cuddigan has spent seven years at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Chapel in central Hong Kong.

Originally from Midleton in Cork, Fr Cuddigan told The Irish Catholic he would “rather die” than abandon his parish, having already survived six months of violent protests in the city.

“Listen, like all missionaries I’ve been through my dangerous moments in the past, so you just live with what’s what and don’t get too excited,” he said.

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“We don’t know if it’s going to increase or decrease. It’s a wait-and-see game.”

The veteran missionary believes it is crucial he remains in Hong Kong, however bad things may get, to ensure parishioners don’t “lose hope”.

Despite several reported cases in Hong Kong, the number affected remains significantly lower than the amount seen in mainland China.

At least 2,442 people have died in China since the outbreak of the virus which has spread further around the globe to places like Iran and Italy.