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Covid-19: Annual crossover service under threat as govt limits gathering to 50% capacity

Anthony Iwuoma

The Presidential Steering Committee, PSC, on COVID-19 has reduced indoor religious gatherings to 50 per cent capacity and insisted on strict compliance with Covid-19 protocols.

Leader of PSC, Boss Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF,  on Thursday disclosed this in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja.

“The Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 recognizes the importance of the Christmas and New Year celebrations for most Nigerians. As we prepare to celebrate with our families and loved ones, it is important that we do so safely by taking the necessary precautionary measures to stop the further spread of COVID-19 in our country,” the statement read in part.

“The PSC wishes to remind Nigerians that we are now experiencing the 4th wave COVID19 as new cases have continued to rise in the country. This is the result of a mix of very low vaccination coverage, increased travels and movements, reduced compliance to public health social measures and highly transmissible Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant now circulating in the country.

“Indoor religious congregation should be limited to 50% capacity with full compliance to public health social measures; face masks and hand sanitisers should be used at all times regardless of vaccination status while in public spaces.

“Families are advised to limit the number of visitors to their homes and put in place precautionary safety measures. Any gathering in the excess of 50 people should be done in open spaces with physical distancing.

“Avoid non-essential interstate travel at this period as this increases the risk of spreading infection from one place to another. People who intend to travel are encouraged to take a rapid COVID-19 test to confirm status as many infected persons are asymptomatic.

“Ensure that you have taken the full dose of COVID-19 vaccination including the booster dose to reduce your risk of severe infection and death in case of. Exposure to Covid-19.”

Religious organisations, especially churches, observe Crossover services on the New Year eve on December 31 every year, using the occasion to pray and worship God for enabling them to see another year.

It is usually a full service thronged by the faithful in their numbers. Restricting the gathering to 50% will certainly affect the vibrancy of the services.s