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Face masks compulsory for worshippers, says Interfaith Council

Worshippers will be required to wear face masks during services.

The Interfaith Council during a media briefing Monday welcomed government’s move lifting Covid-19 protocols paving the way for the resumption of full in-person worship for vaccinated persons.

The Council’s chair Archbishop Antony Muheria, however, maintains that places of worship will be expected to observe various hygiene protocols which include handwashing, temperature screening and sanitization of shared items cautioning that the pandemic is not yet over, hence, Kenyans should not lower their guard.

“We still advise that all must continue wearing masks in the places of worship We will continue to observe all measures of hygiene, by washing hands or sanitizing before and after the worship services, as well as in all moments where handling shared items. Special attention should be given to sanitizing microphones” he said.

Physical contact, particularly handshaking remains banned.

“We still warn that the Covid-19 pandemic is not yet over. The danger still hangs, even as it seems to wane in its infectious spread. We must not lower our guard” he cautioned.

Muheria has at the same time confirmed that curbs on attendance and timings at services, weddings and funerals have been lifted, while the elderly and vulnerable are no longer restricted.

The Ministry of Health last Friday lifted COVID-19 prevention measures, including wearing face masks in public and restrictions on gatherings, after sustaining a less than one per cent positivity case rate.

“There has been a lot of debate and discussions on the continued use of facemasks as one of the containment measures. The mandatory wearing of facemasks in open public spaces is now lifted,” Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said

The religious leaders rallied their members to take advantage of the vaccination drive but clarified that worshippers will not be required to show proof of vaccination.

”We are encouraged by the uptake of vaccination and encourage as many Kenyans as possible to receive the jab, as this will strengthen our resistance for any eventual wave, and keep us operating normally” added the Archbishop.

The Council is further expressing concern over political gatherings that have totally ignored prevention measures and could be breeding grounds for an outbreak.

“This still remains the greatest danger and risk in case of any new outbreak. We urge our political leaders to at least put in place some measures of protection, of avoiding hand-shaking and ensure sanitization”.

Muheria made an impassioned plea to Kenyans to reach out to families battling adverse socio-economic impacts of the pandemic.

“We urge all Kenyans to be attentive and to come to the aid of the many families affected seriously by the Covid-19 pandemic. We single out, especially the Covid orphans and widows. We all, together with the Government, should seek ways of mitigating their strife through some means of support” he appealed.

“God has certainly heard our prayers, as we can now operate in a more relaxed environment. We know, however, that the Covid-19 effects will still be felt in society and in families for a long time to come. Let us continue praying that God may help us make our contribution towards rebuilding our expressions of faith, and sustaining our society in all areas” he added.


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