COVID-19: Churches In Lagos Reopen, Record Low Turnout

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

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