COVID-19: Churches in Lagos reopen, record low turn out after 20 weeks of lockdown

Many churches in Lagos  on Sunday witnessed low turnout on the first Sunday  of  reopening after 20  weeks of lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu  had  on  Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020  relaxed some of the lockdown measures instituted by the Lagos State Government to combat the spread of the pandemic.

Following the decline in  COVID-19 positive cases, Gov. Sanwo-Olu in  his 17th briefing on COVID-19 response had  directed the re-opening of places of worship in the state, starting from Aug. 7,2020  for mosques and Aug. 9, 2020 for churches.

In March 2020, part  of  the efforts to contain  the spread of COVID-19  was that the Lagos State Government announced various   lockdown measures and ban on public gatherings.

Initially, with 11 confirmed cases, the state government ordered schools to shut down and banned public gatherings of over  50 people, particularly religious congregations.

NAN’s Correspondent who visited  St.Dominic’s  Catholic Church, Yaba, Lagos , reports that Masses were  held at five different centres  simultaneously.

The parishioners complied with  COVID-19 protocols such as wearing of face masks, observing social distancing  and others.

Rev. Fr. Charles Onwordi in his homily in one of the Mass centres   welcomed the parishioners  with a Homily titled: “Fear not, cry out to God for an end to this pandemic.’’

Onwordi, who spoke with NAN after the Mass, said that COVID-19  pandemic was an  experience to draw the world closer to God.

“We are happy to have our people back and pray for those who lost their lives  to the pandemic that they would rest in peace.

“We advise  our members to always abide by  COVID-19 guidelines so that we will stop the spread of the pandemic and pray for an end to it”, he said.

Mr David Okonkwo ,a parishioner at the Church, thanked God for  His mercies  that he witnessed the first Sunday of the reopening of churches  in the state after 20 weeks of lockdown.

Okonkwo said that he had missed the gathering of the faithful in the  last 20 weeks and prayed that this would not take many away from God.

At the  Redeemed Christian Church of God  (RCCG) , Power House,  Shomolu , there was also a  low turnout but the members  thanked God for  sparing their lives.

The Pastor- in –Charge, who simply identified himself as Hassan, said that  it was wonderful having the members back because many had died due to complications from the pandemic.

“I pray that many souls will be drawn to God because their survival is not by power, ” Hassan said .

At the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC), Muniru Baruwa Street, Surulere, the church had yet to reopen for members to attend services.

A member there  told NAN that services were  still being conducted online but that preparations were in top gear for physical services to start soon.

He said the church premises were fumigated and disinfected on Saturday; adding that other preparations in line with COVID-19 protocols would continue during  the week.

NAN also reports that churches visited observed the COVID- 19  protocols as all members were seen wearing their  face masks.

There were taps with  running water  at strategic points as well as hand sanitiser, soaps and infrared  thermometers to check  the temperatures of the faithful  at the entrance of the churches. (NAN)

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