Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State has confirmed that worship centres, which were closed since March because of the coronavirus pandemic, will be reopened today, August 14.
Abiodun said this in a statement he signed personally on Friday.
The Governor, while giving updates on the COVID-19 cases in Ogun, said, “As at Thursday, 13th August, 2020, the COVID-19 statistics in Ogun State are: 7,122 screened persons; 1,521 confirmed cases; 1,288 persons treated and discharged; 24 fatalities; while we have 206 receiving medical attention.”
Speaking on the reopening of worship centres, he disclosed that “we decided to reopen the worship centres with effect from Friday 14th August, 2020 as indicated in my last address.”
According to him, the decision was made in line with agreement reached by the committee set up to develop guidelines for reopening of the religious centres.
“Therefore, today, Friday, 14th August is hereby confirmed for the commencement of operations of the Worship Centres, subject to the guidelines,” he stressed.
However, Abiodun warned religious leaders to comply with the agreed guidelines so as to avoid being sanctioned by the state government.
Some of the guidelines, according to him, are that, all congregants must wear their face masks; there must be running water for handwashing; provision of alcohol-based hand sanitizer among others.
For Muslims, ablutions must be performed at home, and they must go to mosques with their personal praying mats.
In churches, administration of Holy Communion should be devoid of sharing of any item and must follow COVID-19 protocols.
In all worship centres, qualified Medical Practitioners or trained personnel should check the temperature of worshipers with infrared thermometer before allowing them to enter worship centres.
Services must not have more than 200 participants and it must not be than one and a half hour, adding that social distancing must be observed.
“There should not be any handshakes/hugs by worshipers.
“Religious services and events should be recorded with digital camera for record purposes,” it was said.
Sounding a note of warning, the Governor said: “Let me say that our Task Force is already on ground and is moving about to ensure compliance. And, if perchance we discover that any of our religious centre is not complying or adhering to the laid down protocols, we will not hesitate to close down the centre.”
Speaking further, the governor said weekend lockdown has been lifted.
He disclosed that the ban on gathering above 20 participants is still in place.
On education, students who have registered for the National Examination Council (NECO), and JSS3 students who have registered for the NECO Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) are to return to school from Monday 17th August 2020.
He added that entrance examinations into Ogun State Boarding Schools will take place on Saturday, 12th September 2020.