News Analysis

The Frequent Calls to Open Places of Worship During Lock down

The Federal government on the first of June, 2020 lifted the ban on religious gatherings across the country for the next two weeks. 

Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, who is also the Secretary to the government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha said the relaxation of the restriction on places of worship is based on guidelines issued by the PTF and protocols agreed by state governments.

Prior to this announcement, some state governments had already lifted the ban on religious gatherings, while some state governors insisted that the ban is still in force in their states, despite the Federal government’s move.

As at today, the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Nigeria is over thirteen thousand, and if care is not taken, the entire country may experience more cases within few days, if stiffer steps are not put in place by the places of worship.

There is a need for the state governments to take greater caution in lifting the ban on religious gatherings.

States, where the incidence of the virus is rising sharply, need not reopen places of worship at this period.

Religious places at states with fewer cases of Covid-19 should be allowed to adhere strictly to stay safe regulations. Apart from the provision of sanitizers and washing of hands under running water, the worship centres should split their services when necessary in order to observe social distancing.

Saudi Arabia banned religious gatherings and was able to keep its Covid-19 infections under control, in South Korea for example, Coronavirus cases got out of hand within the space of two weeks in February after a Covid-19 carrier attended a church service. The Seoul Metropolitan government later filed a formal complaint of murder against the church.

Also, two-third of Malaysia’s initial cases in the early march were traced to a four-day event at a mosque.

While some people have been calling for the reopening of places of worship, as some major markets were opened, the serving overseer of the Citadel Global Community Church, Pastor Tunde Bakare, has insisted that it was not yet time to open places of worship.

As the COVID 19 is still ravaging the world, infections and deaths will continue to rise. To this end, all the state governors should join the Federal government in embracing a non-partisan, rational and scientific approach towards curtailing the deadly virus.

Laolu Fawole

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