Akwa Ibom churches’ crossover service mustn’t exceed two hours – Govt

Churches planning to hold service in Akwa Ibom State to usher in the New Year must do so for only two hours, the state government said, Thursday, in a new directive meant to check the surge in COVID-19 cases in the state.

The Secretary to the State Government, Emmanuel Ekuwem, in a statement, said apart from wearing facemasks, congregants must be made to keep a distance of at least one metre from one another during the service.

“Processions with no social distancing must not be allowed during service,” the statement said, directing church leaders to take responsibility in enforcing COVID-19 protocols as the government would dispatch monitoring teams to the churches.

The government said churchwardens, ushers and stewards must wear hand gloves, in addition to wearing facemasks.

“Body temperatures must be taken of all worshippers at all entrances into church buildings and venues of service. Any high temperature must be reported speedily to the nearest medical facility.

“Persons with persistent coughing and/or sneezing and/or breathlessness must be escorted promptly out of the church building or venue of service to the nearest medical facility,” the statement said.

“Strict compliance with the COVID-19 guidelines and protocols by all citizens and residents is better than another lockdown,” the statement added.

The total confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection in the state is 437 as of December 30, according to the data from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

The number of deaths is nine.

A former military governor of the state, Idongesit Nkanga is among the prominent persons who have died so far from COVID-19complications in the state.

Other Nigerian states have also witnessed a surge in COVID-19 cases and the number of deaths lately, prompting a renewed effort by the federal and state governments to tackle the pandemic.

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