KENYA: Inter-Faith Council Revises Guidelines as Covid-19 Cases Surge

Archbishop Anthony Muheria

By Arnold Neliba

NAIROBI, MARCH 23, 2021 (CISA)-The Inter-Faith Council on Covid-19 has revised guidelines on public worship to allow only up to 120 minutes worship time urging religious leaders to insist on adherence to the set guidelines by the Ministry of Health and the Inter-Faith Council.

“All congregants must wear masks throughout the service. We appeal to the Religious leaders to insist on the proper wearing of masks, covering both nose and mouth. The Leaders of the Service must also wear the mask throughout, even when speaking to the Microphone. All those taking a spoken part in the service should also have their masks on when speaking to the microphone,” read in part a statement released March 23.

The interfaith council also urged Kenyans to adhere to the set guidelines particularly during the forthcoming weeks when several faith traditions have solemn periods noting that no processions or night vigil services are allowed.

The council appealed to the public to avoid attending funerals further limiting the attendance to family members.

“We continue to highlight that many of the infections are taking place in the funeral setting. It is here that we have the most diverse attendants coming from many parts of the country. The possibility of having a person with Covid-19 is very high, and therefore the risk and danger is also very high,” reads the statement signed by Archbishop Anthony Muheria the Chairman of the council.

Religious leaders presiding over the funerals have been directed to stress on the guidelines issued by the Inter-Faith Council and the Ministry of health during the preparation days and during the funeral.

“Special insistence should be made that all attendants must wear masks throughout the funeral. The family and the leader of the funeral should request anyone without a mask not to participate. The masks should be properly worn throughout the service,” the council said further stressing on the adherence to guidelines on sanitization, social distancing and screening at the entrance.

As the country continues to record a surge in infections, the council has asked the elderly over 65 years to worship from home, “due to the high danger of death the infection would place them in.”

“It is out of concern for them that we give this advice. The religious leaders can look for safe ways to attend to them in their homes,” the statement adds stressing on strict compliance to the existing general worship guidelines.

“We are happy that the vaccination campaign against Covid19 has also kicked off. We believe it will assist greatly in containing the spread of the Infections. We still urge the Ministry of Health to continue giving as much information on the vaccine as possible, as well as address any doubts raised by the public,” said the council.

While inviting for a closer collaboration between National and Country governments with religious bodies and leaders the council believed that the cooperation will help in sensitization of Covid-19 related developments to the grassroots.

According to the Ministry of Health, Kenya is currently experiencing a third wave of infections characterized by rise in number of new confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths.