Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church has taken new precautionary measures against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which will be applied from Jan. 31, according to the church’s spokesman.
The new measures, which include social distancing and reducing the time of the homily to 15 minutes, aim at limiting the outbreak of the virus within the churches of Cairo and Alexandria.
Churches must enforce a rule of one person seated per church bench during mass, which may be held on any day of the week.
The possibility of arranging special masses for students in the primary and preparatory phases as an alternative to Sunday schools is also being explored.
Prayers will be suspended for 15 days in any church in which a case of infection is reported or whose members are found to not be abiding by the measures.
Sunday schools, meetings, activities and services remain suspended, according to the spokesman. As for wreath prayers and funerals, participation is allowed so long as social distancing is maintained.
Third prayers, funeral halls, intimate prayers and other ritual services that are held in homes continue to be suspended.
As for other dioceses, the spokesman said that every metropolitan or bishop will make a decision in conjunction with the congregation of priests in a way that suits the particular health status of that diocese. Special prayers will be held seeking divine protection for Egypt and the rest of the world from all evils, diseases and epidemics.
As Egypt began the vaccination drive, the curve of COVID-19 gradually came down, said Khaled Mujahid, spokesperson of the Ministry of Health and Population. He added that 643 new cases and 55 deaths were reported and that the total number of registered cases in the country has reached 163,129, with 27,433 recoveries and 9,067 deaths.