Thousands gathered on the Indonesian island of Flores at an ordination ceremony for a Catholic bishop, Thursday, March 19, despite calls from authorities to avoid mass gatherings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

READ MORE: Organizers of a Muslim missionary event in Indonesia on Wednesday agreed to disperse more than 8,000 attendees who had gathered for a five-day event even as governments worldwide attempted to slow the spread of the coronavirus by limiting the size of public gatherings or canceling them.

People began arriving in the Gowa district of South Sulawesi over the weekend for the World Meeting of Asian Zone Muslims at the Darul Ulum Islamic school. The attendees included about 400 people from outside Indonesia.

Two Christian mass events are scheduled in Indonesia. On Flores island, the installation of Siprianus Hormat as bishop of Ruteng had been long anticipated. The archbishop of Jakarta, Ignatius Suharyo, told VOA by text message that he had attended the installation, but he refused to comment when asked if such a gathering could contribute to the spread of COVID-19.

In Larantuka, the capital of eastern Flores, the Semana Santa, an annual event, is scheduled for the week before Easter. This year Easter falls on April 12. The event is usually attended by thousands. As of this week, the event has not been canceled, but authorities are saying they will restrict the admission of outsiders to the internationally known event.


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