HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — Vietnamese dioceses called off some ceremonies planned for Tet, the Lunar New Year, after a new COVID-19 variant spread to more than 10 cities and provinces.

Ucanews.com reported 10 dioceses issued detailed instructions on coronavirus prevention and called on Catholics to abide by health authorities’ measures to protect their families and communities.

Vietnamese government authorities closed schools across Vietnam to stem the spread of the variant. All nurseries, schools and colleges in 39 cities and provinces, including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, closed early in February to guarantee students’ safety ahead of the Tet festival holiday, Feb. 6-16.

On Feb. 3, Nguyen Dinh Khang, head of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor, called on domestic migrant workers to limit their travels during Tet. In the past, millions of Vietnamese workers returned home ahead of the Tet holiday. Khang said tens of thousands of workers had decided to remain in southern provinces so as to contain the coronavirus, and he appreciated their responsibility to the community.

Father Peter Nguyen Doai, chancellor of Ha Tinh Diocese, said Bishop Paul Nguyen Thai Hop had canceled the diocese’s special year-end Mass scheduled for Feb. 4, ucanews.com reported. Doai asked local parishes to celebrate thanksgiving Masses at churches to pray for peace, the local church and its benefactors in the new year.