HOLY water fonts at Catholic churches in the Barrhead area are being emptied in a bid to combat the spread of the coronavirus virus.

The Diocese of Paisley is also asking parishioners not to give the traditional 'sign of peace' by shaking hands during Mass, amid fears those attending services could catch the illness.

Other preventative measures being put in place from today include suspending the 'Distribution of the Precious Blood.'

Parishioners can still receive Holy Communion, which will be distributed on the hand or tongue.

A spokesperson for the diocese said: "If receiving on the tongue, present yourself with mouth wide open and tongue extended to minimise finger contact from the minister.

"If receiving by hand, thoroughly wash your hands and extend them wide open for the host to be placed with minimum contact."

The diocese has stressed that the coronavirus virus "poses a danger, particularly to vulnerable members of our community."

"It is spread by physical contact," added the spokesperson. "We have a duty to protect each other by good general hygiene, especially washing hands frequently and thoroughly.

"If we have coronavirus-or cold/flu-like symptoms, we should stay away from gatherings."