Mozambique: Strict Conditions for Reopening Places of Worship

Maputo — Mozambican Justice Minister Helena Kida has given religious organisations a list of 16 conditions which must be met before any church or mosque can be re-opened, under the current state of emergency, imposed to hinder the spread of the Covid-19 respiratory disease

According to a report in Friday's issue of the independent newssheet "Carta de Mocambique", the religious bodies were given the list on Wednesday, and were asked to accept the conditions by Friday evening.

Under this list, each religious body must identify the space where it will hold its services, and determine how many people can take part in each service. Distances of 1.5 metres must be marked to allow social distancing.

Water and soap, or alcohol-based gel must be available to allow believers to wash their hands. All those participating in a religious service must wear masks or visors, and their temperature must be taken before they can enter. Church leaders heading services must wear visors.

There must be a mat or rug soaked in disinfectant at the entrance to any church or mosque, so that worshippers can disinfect their feet.

After each service there must be an interval of an hour to allow for disinfection of the space. Each religious organisation can hold a maximum of five services a day, each lasting no longer than an hour. There must be separate doors for entering and leaving the place of worship.

If musical instruments are played, they must be disinfected for each service, and each instrument may only be used by one person in each service. Church choirs remain banned, and any libraries on religious premises must remain closed.

Each church or mosque must keep a register with the names and contact numbers of all those attending services, and this register must remain available for at least 21 days. This will allow worshippers to be contacted at once should anyone attending a service fall ill with Covid-19.

Weddings and baptisms may be held but "without physical contact", and those attending these ceremonies must obey social distancing.

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