Nigeria since the index case in February has been reporting increasing cases of COVID-19 across the country. This caused the Presidential Tasm Force (PTF)to place a band on religious gathering and centres to curb the spread of the virus.
The PTF on COVID-19 had on the 2nd June, 2020 announced the easing of the ban on religious gatherings, allowing faith groups to meet while adhering strictly to public health and social distancing as instructed by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), on Saturday, 13th June, 2020, released new guidelines for the opening of religious centres in the country. NCDC said the new guidelines for places of worship in Nigeria is to ensure safe gatherings and prevent exposure to COVID-19 infection in religious settings.
The agency gave eight rules for religious places to observe as they reopen activities to the public. These are as follows:
- There should be no entry without face masks. All attendees and religious leaders must wear a face mask.
- People who are sick should not go to places of worship. There should be a temperature screening on entry.
- Hand washing facilities and hand sanitizers should be provided at points of entries and strategic points.
- Attendance to religious settings should not exceed one third 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 hand shake as peace signs are discouraged.
- Practice that requires sharing of materials should be limited. For example ablution should be performed at home.
- Religious centres should be disinfected routinely, before and after service.
As of the time of reporting, at least a case of the virus has been reported in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
As of Saturday night, Nigeria had recorded 15,682 infections with 407 deaths from the virus.