For more than 160 years, France’s Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine has been famous among the faithful who believe the shrine’s waters have healing powers. But with the outbreak of a particularly infectious strain of coronavirus, that’s changed. The shrine has effectively shut-down the famous waters as more and more people in Europe are testing positive for the virus, as the FriendlyAtheist’s David Gee points out.
“Our first concern will always be the safety and health of the pilgrims and the shrine’s working community,” a note posted February on the shrine’s website said. “As a precaution, the pools have been closed until further notice.”
On its website, the shrine reports that while it is “unlikely that the coronavirus will spread through the water,” the waters are closed nevertheless because they “are a place where people are more exposed because they are bare.”
Gee notes that the situation should be handled better. The shrine is encouraging people to “pray more” and folks are still bathing their faces with the water from the cave that flows to the fountains. That water is being treated with a virucide. He criticized the shrine for not instructing followers to wash their hands repeatedly throughout the day, noting that instead “It is pushing them to wet their faces in their fountains while a potential outbreak looms.”
“By doing so, they could be negating the closure of the pools.”
“They’d be better off closing the shrine entirely until the threat dissipates,” he added.
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