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Churches must take full responsibility if any member contracts COVID-19 - Rev. Prof Frimpong Manso

By Mutala Yakubu
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Rev. Prof. Frimpong-Manso, President of the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC), says churches must take full responsibility if any member contracts the deadly COVID-19.

His comments come on the back of the government announcing some guidelines for churches who wish to reopen.

Rev. Frimpong Manso says churches must be discipline to adhere to all the protocols announced by the government and also take full responsibility if any member contracts the disease from the church.

READ ALSO: No dancing and waving of handkerchiefs - Gov't announces guidelines for churches

"We will take full responsibility if we know that the infected person picked the virus from the church. We will be responsible and disciplined, we will use a common sense and apply some form of wisdom to deal with it"

He also said he does not expect all churches to open on Sunday and many would want to thread cautiously.

"It's better to have a standard than none. I'm not expecting all churches to open on Sunday though reopening is a possibility. It's a process not an event. We have to be careful. The rules have been given but we need to be very disciplined"

The government on June 1, 2020, announced a set of advisories following the resumption of religious activities after the easing of the COVID-19 restrictions.

This was announced by the Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs Minister, Samuel Kofi Dzamesi.

Among the advisories for churches was that no crowd dancing and waving of handkerchief will be allowed.

Find below the full guidelines:

  • Thermometer guns or thermal scanners are to be provided for checking the temperature of congregants at entry points.
  • A No mask, No entry Policy is to be enforced.
  • Handwashing facilities with running water and soap and/or FDA approved alcohol-based hand sanitizer are to be provided.
  • Adequate waste management facilities (bins, cans, bin-liners and single-use tissues) are to be made available.
  • Adequate toilet facilities must be made available.
  • There should be the regular cleaning and disinfection of frequently used communal places (like toilet surfaces) and frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs/handles, preferably every 1-2 hours depending on the rate of utilization.
  • A holding room or area where a person who becomes sick at the gathering can be isolated from others must be available ahead of arrangements for evacuation.
  • There must be the regular disinfection of venues used by churches, preferably once every month.
  • Trained cleaners with the necessary personal protective equipment and cleaning items must be on hand to clean the facilities regularly and handle waste appropriately.
  • Churches are to ensure adequate ventilation, i.e. open windows to allow for the maximum circulation of fresh air, if possible, avoid confined air-conditioned rooms.
  • Churches are to display approved health promotion materials on COVID-19 at vantage points to remind congregants to keep to social distancing protocols, wearing of the masks, regular handwashing, coughing and sneezing etiquette.
  • Churches are to ensure a No handshake, No hugging and No Spitting policy at all time.
  • Churches are to Follow established evacuation procedures to enable evacuation if a congregant becomes sick during the event and has to be evacuated.
  • Churches are to form a COVID-19 task force comprising of members who are preferably health workers.
  • Unwell Persons are not allowed to attend church
  • Elderly persons and people of any age with underlying medical conditions, heart diseases, diabetes, liver disease, and asthma are advised to stay away from church service
  • Sharing personal items such as watches, jewellery, pens and phones should be discouraged.
  • If an individual is confirmed positive for COVID-19, all contacts must be traced and screened.
  • No crowded dancing and waving of handkerchiefs during church services.
  • Microphones are to be sanitized immediately after each use.
  • All persons who speak or sing in churches must wear facemask during service.
  • Churches are to discourage singing in groups and instead use pre-recorded songs.
  • Pre-packaged communion bread and wine should be picked up by members at the point of entry.
  • Place offering bowls at the entrance and exit points for members to give offerings and tithes when entering or on their way out of church premises. Encourage cash transfers via mobile money or mobile banking as forms of giving offerings.
  • In observance of social distancing protocols, laying on of hands should not be allowed.
  • Spend at least five minutes of church service time to educate church members on Covid-19.
  • Provide separate sitting areas for the aged and for families that are together.
  • The church is encouraged to mobilize resources to help individuals in need including offering church health facilities.