Samuel Kofi Dzamesi, the Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs Minister, has directed churches and mosques to form COVID-19 Task Forces as part of measures to ensure congregants are safe during the novel Coronavirus pandemic.
This directive was in line with the government’s decision to ease the restriction imposed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak in Ghana.
Outlining the detailed precautionary protocols for the various religious bodies in the country, the Minister told the media that any religious body that flouts the directive risks being closed or being dealt with appropriately.
Samuel Kofi Dzamesi said that every mosque and church must have a task force to handle emergency situations that may arise during services.
“Form COVID-19 Task Force comprising of members who are preferably health workers. They must be trained in health promotion measures, infection prevention and control and evacuation procedures by Ghana Health Service. The COVID-19 Task Force should call 112 or 311 for support to enable evacuation of anyone who develops fever, coughs and difficulty in breathing during service,” he noted.
President Akufo-Addo’s announced during his 10th televised address to the nation, that, “An abridged format for religious services can commence. Twenty-five per cent attendance, with a maximum number of 100 congregants, can worship at a time in church or at the mosque, with a mandatory one-metre rule of social distancing between congregants.”
He continued: “the mandatory wearing of masks for all persons at all times in churches and mosques, a register of names and contact details of all worshipers and hand washing facilities and sanitizers must be provided, with a maximum duration of one hour for each service.”
Find below some guidelines for Churches:
I. Thermometer guns or thermal scanners are to be provided for checking the temperature of congregants at entry points.
II. No mask: No entry Policy to be enforced
III. Provision of handwashing facilities with running water and soap and/or FDA approved alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
IV. Provision of adequate waste management facilities (bins, cans, bin-liners and single-use tissues).
V. Provision of adequate toilet facilities for use by members.
VI. 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.
VII. Designate a holding room or area where a person who becomes sick at the premises/event can be isolated from others while making arrangements for evacuation.
VIII. Regular disinfection of venues used by churches, preferably once every month. For example, fumigation and disinfection must be carried out with recognized entities like Zoomlion.
IX. Trained cleaners with the necessary personal protective equipment and cleaning items to clean the facilities regularly and handle waste appropriately.
X. Provide adequate ventilation, i.e. open windows to allow for the maximum circulation of fresh air, if possible, avoid confined air-conditioned rooms.
XI. 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.
XII. Ensure a No handshake, No hugging and No Spitting policy at all time.
XIII. Follow established evacuation procedures (as outlined in Annex 1) to enable evacuation if a congregant becomes sick during the event and has to be evacuated.
XIV. Form COVID task force comprising of members who are preferably health workers. They must be trained in Health Promotive prevention measures, Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) and Evacuation Procedures by Ghana Health Service.
XV. The COVID task force should Call 112 or 311 for support to enable evacuation if anyone develops fever, cough, and difficulty in breathing during service.
Read below some guidelines for mosques:
I. Thermometer guns must be provided for checking the temperature of members at entry points.
II. There should be notices communicating ‘No facemask No entry’ policy.
III. There should be the provisions of handwashing facilities with running water and soap and FDA-approved alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
IV. Provision of waste management facilities with bins, bin liners, and single-use tissue.
V. Provision of adequate toilet facilities for use as members.
VI. Regularly cleaning of frequently used communal places, toilet use surfaces and frequently used surfaces such as doorknobs or handles preferably every one to two hours depending on the rate of utilization.
VII. Designate a waiting room or area where a person who becomes sick at the premises or at an event can be isolated from others while making preparations from evacuation.
VIII. Regular cleaning of places where churches use for service at least once every month. For example, fumigation and disinfection must be carried out by recognised entities.
IX. Professional cleaners with the necessary Personal Protective Equipment and cleaning items to clean the facilities regularly and handle waste appropriately.
X. Provide adequate ventilation by opening windows to allow for the maximum circulation of fresh air. If possible, avoid confined air-condition rooms.
XI. Display approved promotion materials on COVID-19 at vantage points to remind members to keep to social distancing protocol.
XII. Wearing of face mask.
XIII. Regular handwashing, coughing, and sneezing etiquettes.
XIV. Ensure a no handshake, no hugging, and no spitting policy at all times.
XV. Follow established evacuation procedures to enable evacuation of a participant, if a participant becomes sick during the event and has to be evacuated.
XVI. Mosques are to form COVID-19 a Task Force comprising of members who are preferably health workers. They must be trained in health preventive measures, infection prevention, and control and evacuation procedures like the Ghana Health Service.