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THE Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has issued guidelines for the reopening of religious centres across the country, demanding that children and people aged 60 and above should avoid worship centres for the time being.
According to the guidelines posted on its website, the NCDC said “Holy communion should be packaged in disposable wraps. Drinking water points, public toilets and sales outlets must be closed for now.”
This is coming barely two weeks after the Federal Government lifted the ban on religious centres and other public gatherings.
The NCDC said before reopening, religious houses should fumigate their auditoriums, car parks and other buildings by wiping all surfaces with a disinfecting agent.
It also said during services, windows and doors must be opened to enable airflow while adequate provision should be made for soap, running water and hand sanitisers at entry points.
The Centre cautioned that there should be no entry without face masks noting that places of worship should provide disposable face masks where practicable.
To educate worshippers on COVID-19, it recommended that places worship should have preventive messages from NCDC posted at entry points and around places of worship.
The statement added that for Muslims, ablution should be done at home and discouraged the sharing of kettles and any personal items.
According to NCDC, places of worship must open only between 5am and 8pm daily. It noted that choristers are to go home with their robes while hijabs are not to be shared.
“Attendance in every service should not exceed one-third of sitting capacity of the auditorium to enable physical distancing,” it said.
In addition, the NCDC discouraged shaking of hands, hugging and all physical contacts for the time being and advised that worshippers from 60 years old and above, or those with underlying medical conditions, to stay at home.
However, NCDC encouraged electronic means of collecting tithes and contributions to limit contact with
possible contaminated cash or cheques.