Ogun state government has announced new restrictions amid a surge of COVID-19 cases. Street carnivals, crowded crossover service, parties, and similar gatherings have all been suspended in the state.
All religious and worship centres are directed not to exceed 50 percent of their capacity and must be in compliance with all COVID-19 protocols.
This according to the state governor, Dapo Abiodun, is part of the measures and guidelines in order to curb the spread of COVID-19 infections during the yuletide celebration.
He issued the directives issued during a meeting between the state government and religious leaders from the League of Imams and the Christian Association of Nigeria as well as community leaders.
In order to stem, the spread of the second wave of the virus, Governor Abiodun advised that “there should be no gatherings of more than 50 people at any event or ceremonies, such as conferences, congresses, office events, concerts, seminars, sporting activities, cross-over nights, end of year parties, weddings, naming, birthdays, anniversaries, street carnivals, etc until further notice”.
The governor also directed all civil servants and other government workers in the State to proceed on Christmas and New Year holiday from Thursday, December 24 to January 4, 2021.
Schools in the State are to remain closed until January 18, 2021, while all bars, nightclubs, pubs and event centres, recreational centres in the state have also been closed down indefinitely.
The governor further directed that all markets are to open strictly between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. while maintaining social distancing and observing all COVID-19 protocols, including the use of face mask, provision of hand sanitizer and/or hand-washing equipment at every strategic point within their malls, shops, business premises etc.
He also called transport operators not to carry passengers above 50 percent of their capacity, in compliance with social distancing rule.
“All worship activities must be observed by not more than 50percent of capacity. All congregants must wear their face masks appropriately (that is, No facemask, No entry). There should be reliable sources of running water,” the full directive reads.
“Worship centres should be adequately cleaned and disinfected before and after services. Household bleach solution should be adequately prepared for disinfectations. There should be adequate provision and supervision of multiple Veronica Buckets for handwashing (fully automated handwashing machines are preferable).
“There should be provision of alcohol-based sanitiser which must be used before and at intervals of every 20 minutes as well as after service. Worship centre should provide adequate toilet facilities with water. It is paramount for Muslims to perform ablution at home and go to the Mosque with their personal praying mats.
It continues, “Qualified Medical Practitioners or trained personnel should check the temperature of worshippers with an infrared thermometer before allowing them to enter worship centres. There should be adequate medical support for sick persons.
“All services on Friday/Sunday and other weekdays must adhere strictly to COVID-19 Guidelines. There should be pre-designated standing position/sitting points to ensure not less than 2-meter distancing. The duration of religious services should not be more than one hour. In addition, same duration must be observed at intervals, where there are multiple services.
“The use of Air-conditioners should be discouraged while worship centres should be well ventilated with the use of fans. There should not be any handshakes/hugs by worshippers. Proper awareness of the susceptibility of the aged and people with signs of ill-health should be adequately created among worshippers at all times.
“Constant sensitisation of COVID-19 and its dangers should be included in sermon and goodwill messages. Provision of isolation rooms is mandatory in all worship centres or facilities. Religious services and events should be recorded with a digital camera for record purposes
“The government will not hesitate to impose severe sanctions (including, but not limited to lockdown) on any Worship Centre that fails to comply with the laid down guidelines. No social gathering should exceed 200 people while 2 meters of social distancing must be observed in such gatherings. Disposable elements should be used during Holy Communion instead of sharing cups.”
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