The bodies that presented the guidelines included the Christian Council, the National Association of Charismatic and Christian Churches, Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
Signing the mitigating guidelines were;
Most Rev Dr Paul Boafo (Chairman, Christian Council of Ghana); Rev Prof Yaw Frimpong Manso (President, Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council);
Most Rev Phillip Naameh (President, Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference); Archbishop Nicholas Duncan Williams (President, National Association of Charismatic and Christian Churches).
It would be recalled that in March President Akufo-Addo banned all public gatherings in response to coronavirus.
Impliedly, the suspension of religious gathering constitutes a form of lockdown, owing to the Church’s inability to congregate for communal worship, the Christian bodies said.
“And following the President’s meeting with heads of churches and ecumenical councils on April 2020 at the Jubilee House where His Excellency the President charged the Christian leaders to develop modalities and guidelines to mitigate the spread of the virus should the ban on public gathering be lifted, the Christian leaders developed these intervention strategies.
In assessing Church’s readiness and capacity to comply with COVID-19 pandemic safety protocols, it is important to note that addressing CV-19 “requires a whole-of-government and whole-of-society response, according to them.
The Church being a major stakeholder is indispensable in the State’s overall COVID-19 containment and mitigation strategies, they said.
Given that 71% of Ghanaians identify as Christians, the Church, with its wide social network, access to communities, captive audience, unquestioned authority, and influential actors of public support for government measures is best placed to help in numerous ways with educating, counseling and sustaining the populace.
As the Church prepares to come back for communal worship, the tables below show the potential risk areas and what to do to mitigate potential spread, according to them.
Entrance points to churches
Utility areas in the church
Washroom door handles
Seating arrangements in the church
Close seating arrangement in the church that breaches social distancing regulations
Group sitting e.g. the choir
Nature of church building
Poorly ventilated churches – having few and small windows
Entirely glass windows that impede free flow of air
Nature of service
Handshakes during welcome sessions
Singing groups congregating at one side and singing
Group meetings – Sunday schools where teachers speak to small groups. Those in the front roll are at risk
Communion services where cups are handed to individuals
Communion service where many people drink from one cup
Communion services where packaged loafs are handed to individuals Devices and items
Microphones used commonly by more than one person, faucets, telephones
Money handled by more than one person through giving offering and tithes Vestries & Pastors’ offices
Door and seat handles
Poorly ventilated rooms
Common surfaces including Pastors’ tables
Church Entrances and Lobbies
Hand washing: Make available hand-washing materials for all to wash hands before entering the church or touching rails, door handles and pillars. A running tap or Veronica bucket should be put at all entrances for every church member to wash hands before entering the church. Handsfree soap dispenser must be fitted to avoid cross con…
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