COVID-19: Council extends worship time to 90 minutes, 497 new cases recorded

Archbishop Muheria
Archbishop Antony Muheria of Nyeri Catholic Diocese. [Photo courtesy]

Churches will now hold services for 90 minutes down from the initial 60 minutes following a review of the recommendation by the Inter-Faith council which formulated guidelines for the re-opening of worship centres.

The council led by Archbishop Antony Muheria of the Nyeri Catholic Diocese said the review of the recommendations was inspired by good conduct exhibited by churches.

Muheria on Tuesday during a press briefing in Nairobi said that the level of compliance of the pre-phase launch which kicked off on July 14 is at 90 percent.

“We have had over 90% compliance in the places of worship that reopened to the public. This is an exceptional performance and example to all in the nation,” he said.

Besides an extension of time for services, the age bracket of those allowed to attend services was increased to 65 years from the initial 58 set on July 14.

He urged churches to continue adhering to other safety and health measures set among them social distancing, hand-washing, temperature checks and disinfecting surfaces within the vicinity of the church often.

 “We, however, continue to urge all those who are elderly, sick or with health conditions, to still worship from their homes. We need to apply personal responsibility, and not expose ourselves when we are still seeing rising infections,” the team advised.

The council, however, expressed concern over how funerals are being handled.

The Inter-Faith Council said that it is appalled by the conduct which has led to the revision of protocols for holding burials.

“We note sadly that the guidelines in Funerals continue to be flouted, and compliance is below 10%…In this phase one that is now set to begin, the total number of attendants in funerals is set at 100 persons. This is a reasonable number that is not too constraining. We plead that we strictly follow this requirement in order to contain any infection spread through Funerals. We also insist that there should not be food sharing as the risk becomes even higher when people remove their masks to eat,” the interfaith council stated. 

Meanwhile, some 497 COVID-19 cases were recorded on Tuesday bringing the total caseload to 27, 425.

Health CAS Dr Mercy Mwangangi said 4,171 samples bringing total samples tested so far to 352,501.

Of the 497 cases tested, 312 are male and 187are female.

Another 372 patients were discharged from hospital bringing the total recoveries to 13,867.

Sadly, 15 patients succumbed to the virus bringing the death toll to 438.