COVID-19: PTF adds more restrictions for worship centres

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 on Sunday released an updated prevention guidelines for all churches and mosques.

According to a tweet by the federal ministry of health, in the updated guideline, worshippers are to attend churches only on Sundays, while in mosques, only the five daily prayers and Friday prayers are allowed for public worship.

Other guidelines earlier published by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), children and people aged 60 and above are barred from attending worship centres and each service should not exceed one hour per session.

The centre said places of worship must open only between 5am and 8pm and attendance in every service should not exceed one-third of sitting capacity of the auditorium to enable physical distancing, while all other members should join the service virtually.

“There should be no entry without face masks; provide disposable face masks where practicable. People who are sick should not go to places of worship. There should be a temperature screening on entry.

“Hand washing facilities and hand sanitizers should be provided at points of entries and strategic points.

“To help educate on COVID-19, it is recommended for places of worship to have preventive messages from NCDC posted at entry points and around places of worship.

“Holy communion should be packaged in disposable wraps. Drinking water points, public toilets. Choristers are to go home with their robes; hijabs are not to be shared”, the centre said.

NCDC also said sales outlets in churches and mosques must be shut during services.

NCDC said Muslim faithfuls are to perform ablution at home, and the sharing of kettles and any personal items is discouraged.

It said religious leaders must maintain two metres when praying or counselling and avoid body contact with members. Places of worship should be free of carpets and rugs to allow easy disinfection of the floors and should be disinfected routinely, before and after service.

The PTF on COVID-19 had on June 2 announced the relaxation of the ban on religious gatherings.

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