Catholic Church begins Mass Celebration as Gov. Okowa Lifts Limits Placed On Number Of Worshippers In Churches, Mosques

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Most Rev.Dr John Okeoghene Afareha
Most Rev.Dr John Okeoghene Afareha

The Catholic Church in Delta State will begin Mass Celebration as from Sunday May 24th 2020 in line with directive of the state Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa.

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Delta State Government on Thursday, May 21, 2020 said it had taken steps to grow the economy of the state amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu disclosed this in Asaba while briefing newsmen on some of the decisions taken by the government to rejig the state’s economy.

He said part of the decision was to ask contractors handling various road projects to return to site and also to ensure that projects do not suffer on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aniagwu noted that the state was desirous to open up the economy for growth activities despite fighting the pandemic which had slowed down the economic activities considerably.

He further said the state had also taken decision to reopen worship centres but advised that appropriate social distancing and respiratory hygiene must be maintained at all times.

“The issue of COVID-19 and the challenges it posses to our economy and other economies of the world dominated public discussions and to that extent, it has greatly impacted developments particularly on infrastructure and also our social behaviours.

“But as a government in Delta, we have examined the need for us to make progress even as we continue to take steps to fight the pandemic.

“We are very much determined to continue to work with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and sustain our efforts at curbing the spread of the virus in our state.”

He emphasised that the state was determined to ensure that different protocols of regular washing of hands, use of sanitisers, wearing of face masks, maintaining of social distancing, and good respiratory hygiene were adhered to by residents of the state.

“As a government, we have taken individual decisions intending to ensure that our development plans are not jeopardized entirely, and to that extent, we have asked that contractors, particularly those involved in road construction, should go back for the site now that the rains are not disturbing yet.

“The Commissioner for Works is already moving around and has been able to inform us that a number of the contractors are busy at their different sites because we don’t want to suspend development because of COVID-19.

“From the last time we issued some directives on partial relaxation of the lockdown, we have taken steps to ensure that religious places of worship, including Christians and Muslims, can worship without having a congregation that can jeopardize the interest of our people.

“We have now removed the ceiling on 100, 50, or 20 worshippers, but if they must assemble, they must observe proper social distancing in their places of worship, whether it is in the church or the mosque.

“We do not want where people will gather and cluster, and because we needed to have as many people to worship God and also pray, we have allowed the Christians to hold as much as three services in a week in this case we have approved Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

“Muslims were they need to worship will also observe that social distancing, but in the case of the upcoming Muslim festival, they have on their own elected to pray from home as they cannot guarantee appropriate social distancing during the festival.

“They have asked their members to pray from home for the state and country.”

He said the idea of putting on the face mask because of a policeman isn’t ideal and urged all to ensure that they wear it once they are in public places.

“We will continue to ensure that our people are safe from this particular virus, and this is why we urge those wearing face masks to know that they are not wearing it for any policeman but to protect themselves and their neighbors.

“We are still very much interested in enforcing the federal government directive on border crossing and border control, and so anybody that doesn’t belong to those that are exempted are not encouraged to come in and make things difficult for us,” he stated.

He cautioned those private operating hospitals to ensure that they are cautious and professional in dealing with patients who approach them so that the state can reduce the incidences of having medical personnel contracting the virus and then jeopardizing the interest of the government.

He explained that the state’s fatality from COVID-19 was a bit high because a number of them were quite old and had some common ailments called comobidity in medical parlance.

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