COVID-19: Nigeria releases guidelines to re-open places of worship

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Nigeria has released fresh protocols to guide reopening of worship
centres, as government eases weeks of lockdowns over novel
coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19.

The country’s Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said the guidelines
are to ensure safe gatherings and prevent exposures to COVID-19
infection in religious settings.

In a statement made available to our AfricaSTI, NCDC said on the 2nd
of June 2020, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 announced the
relaxation of the previous ban placed on religious settings, allowing
faith groups to meet while adhering to public health and social
measures.

It noted that in several countries, COVID-19 outbreaks have been
linked to large gatherings, including religious and non-religious
gatherings.

To reduce the risk of infection in places of worship, NCDC offers the
following guidance:

• There should be no entry without facemasks. All attendees and
religious leaders must wear a face mask.

• People who are sick should not go to places of worship. There should
be temperature screening on entry.

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

• Attendance at religious settings should not exceed 1/3 of sitting capacity.

• Religious centres should be clearly marked such that people sit and
maintain two metres distance from each other.

• There should be no form of direct contact. Practices such as
handshakes as peace signs are discouraged.

• Practices that require sharing of materials should be limited. For
example, ablution should be performed at home.

• Religious centres should be disinfected routinely, before and after worship.

“The guidelines developed by NCDC provide additional requirements to
ensure that places of worship are safe. This can be downloaded via
this link. The NCDC continues to work with states to provide technical
assistance and resources to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect
the health of Nigerians.

“In the absence of a vaccine, Nigeria and the rest of the world must
depend on public health, social measures and supportive management of
confirmed cases. We urge all Nigerians to take individual and
collective responsibility by adhering to public health advice.

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