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Churches strategise to curb COVIS-19 spread during church service; as they push for ban to be lifted

The Heads of Christian Ecumenical Bodies in Ghana have issued guidelines to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus when churches reopen.

Rev Prof Yaw Frimpong Manso

The Christian bodies that presented the guidelines included the Christian Council, the National Association of Charismatic and Christian Churches, Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

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The mitigation guidelines were signed by 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).

In March after Ghana recorded 6 cases of COVID-19, President Akufo-Addo banned all public gatherings in response to coronavirus.

This included religious gatherings, therefore, making it impossible for churches to congregate for communal worship.

In April President Akufo-Addo met with heads of churches and ecumenical councils and charged them to develop modalities and guidelines to mitigate the spread of the virus should the ban on public gathering be lifted.

The church has therefore generated the below guidelines.

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.

Risk Areas

Entrance points to churches

Doors

Door handles

Rails

Pillars

Utility areas in the church

WC handles

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 the 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 loaves 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

Interventions

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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