President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has announced that an “abridged format” of religious services will be allowed in Ghana from Friday, June 5 as part of measures taken to ease the restrictions put in place in the outbreak of the coronavirus disease.
Addressing the country in his 10th nationwide broadcast on Sunday, May 31, President Akufo-Addo said the easing of restrictions on religious services is just part of Stage One of the whole process.
The president had announced the closure of churches and mosques on Sunday, March 15, a few days after Ghana recorded its first two index cases of Covid-19.
Since then, 36 persons have died of the virus, though most of them were with underlying health conditions.
President Akufo-Addo admitted that the death rates have been persistently low contrary to initial predictions by experts.
He said religious services can now begin with Muslims on Friday, June 5.
Most Christians are, as a result, expected to attend service on Sunday, June 7 while Adventists will be expected to attend service on Saturday, June 6.
“Twenty-five percent attendance with a maximum number of 100 congregants, can worship at a time in church or at the mosque, with a mandatory one metre rule of social distancing between congregants,” President Akufo-Addo advised.
He also said face masks are to be worn at all times during services in churches and mosques.
He also recommended a register of names and contact details of all worshipers while hand-washing facilities as well as sanitisers must be provided “with a maximum duration of one hour for each service”.
President Akufo-Addo also stressed that religious organisations that want to open their premises before service should make sure they undergo fumigation and disinfection and also undertake test runs of the protocols with the assistance of designated regulatory bodies.
The Minister of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs has been tasked to outline in detail the specific guidelines for the safe reopening of the churches and mosques from Monday, June 1.
All services on the first day of reopening, President Akufo-Addo recommended, should be dedicated to prayers for the nation.
By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh|3news.com|Ghana