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Nigerian govt unveils guidelines for reopening of churches, mosques

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But for lockdown Nigeria's COVID-19 cases would have risen out of control —Task Force chairman

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Tuesday unveiled the guidelines for worship outlets to resume activities in the country.

The National Coordinator of the PTF, Sani Aliyu, announced the guidelines during the daily briefing of the task force in Abuja.

He said: “In view of the widespread community transmission of COVID-19, it is important that places of worship operate in a safe manner to ensure the protection of public health, avoid outbreaks and safeguard the health of the vulnerable members of the population.

“To this end, the following guidelines have been developed as a minimum set of standards that have to be complied with for places of worship to safely operate nationwide.

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“They have been developed by the PTF in liaison with the leadership of religious communities in the country and should be used as a baseline for states to allow these activities.

“It is important to note that due to the nature of religious congregations, places of worship are particularly recognized to have a major potential for spreading COVID-19 infections amongst worshippers.

“Therefore places of worship that are not able to comply with these measures should not be allowed to operate by state governments.”

 

See the full guidelines below: 

  • Religious leaders must discourage all close contacts between worshippers including shaking hands, hugging, kissing, handing out of materials, and sharing of worship instruments including prayer mats, musical organs, microphones, etc.
  • The capacity of the worship centers should be limited to allow for the physical distancing of at least two metres between persons, with facilities encouraged to consider the use of floor or surface markings to guide distancing.
  • Prayer sessions should be staggered to accommodate worshippers and encourage greater opportunity for physical distancing. People from the same household are also encouraged to stay together during religious worship.
  • Full supply of running water and soap, or alcohol sanitizers at all entry and exit points, and all high-contact locations including bathrooms.
  • Churches are advised to open from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., with each service taking a maximum of one hour, with an interval of 30 minutes in between services to allow time for disinfection.
  • For mosques, five daily prayers, and Friday prayer
  • Mosques to open 15 minutes before the Islamic call to prayer, and close 10 minutes after prayer.
  • For Friday prayers, mosques are to open 20 minutes before and after prayers.

 

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