By James Sowole
The Ondo State Governor, Mr Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, Wednesday directed the resumption of guided and syndicated religious activities throughout the state.
Akeredolu gave the directive at a weekly media briefing on Covid-19 in the state.
The governor explained that a total number of 432 persons have been tested in the state, out of which 24 persons tested positive.
Akeredolu said of the 24 that were admitted, 19 had been treated and discharged, three are still on admission at the state Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH), while two patients died.
The governor said the resumption of guided religious activities was done in consultation with religious leaders.
He said: “As agreed with religious leaders, in specific terms, worship centres are to commence their main activities with effect from this Friday.
“However, such approvals are not blanket and without restrictions, rather they are to be guided by the rules which are derived from the general response protocols on Covid-19 nationally.
“Only weekly Friday Jumat services and Sunday Church services will commence in the first instance. Other daily programmes within the week are not yet approved for takeoff.
“Religious leaders and administrators must ensure strict compliance with the social and physical distancing in the places of worship. In the case of churches, not more than three people are expected to sit on a pew while the equivalent applies to the sitting positions in the mosques and other worship centres as well.
“Water and soap must be provided at all entries into the centres or halls of worship.
“All worshipers must be made to wash their hands in the standard pattern approved and practised since the beginning of the pandemic.
“Hand sanitizers must be provided and used by each worshipper at every entry point to the centres and at other convenient points within the premises.
“All worshippers and workers inside the centres and within the premises must wear masks properly for the duration of the service.
“Churches, mosques and other religious centres must regularly decontaminate and sanitise the premises, facilities and equipment before and after the services.”
Akeredolu stressed that government has placed appropriate machinery in motion to and ensure that these guidelines are implemented to the letter.
He said cases of infringement, disregard or wilful neglect of the extant regulations would be considered as serious threat to the society and will be sanctioned.
He said: “Let me be more direct. Any church, mosque or worship centre which fails to obey the simple rule will be shut down immediately.”
Akeredolu said the second death recorded was a case of a regular cold, cough and flu patient, who was brought from General Hospital, Igbaraoke.
According to him, the patient, who was an indigene of Osun State, died the same day he was brought to the IDH and his samples after his death tested positive.
He said while the deceased was buried in Osun State, the state began wide tracing of his possible contacts just as the Osun State Government had also been told to do the same.
While admonishing the residents of the state to observe precautionary measures against the spread of the disease, Akeredolu said the state was now witnessing cases of community transmission.