A bishop has advised that holy water be removed from churches in a bid to halt the spread of swine flu.
The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Right Reverend John Gladwin, said at some churches people were invited make a sign of the cross using holy water.
“The water in stoups can easily become a source of infection and a means of rapidly spreading the virus,” he said.
In a directive to priests in Essex, he added: “It is not our intention at this stage to cause panic.”
He said priests should also advise members of their congregation who have flu-like symptoms to stay at home.