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Gov’t advised to follow Kenya’s approach in reopening worship places

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Leaders of the people power movement, a pressure group led by Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi have advised the government to emulate neighbours Kenya, and consider a gradual reopening of places of worship and shopping centres.

Joel Ssenyonnyi, the spokesperson of the group says that it remains a questionable act if Uganda, with no recorded COVID-19 death, continues to keep business arcades and worship places closed yet Kenya who lost more than 100 people is reopening them.

Yesterday, President Uhuru Kenyatta set the stage for the gradual resumption of congregational worship to take effect in the next three weeks with only 100 congregants allowed to access worship places and services will be restricted to just an hour.

In the new guidelines, President Uhuru said individuals who have underlying health conditions and aged above 58, will not be allowed to join communal worship. Similarly, Sunday schools and madrassa shall remain suspended. Also restricted is the celebration of the anointing of the sick which will be limited to those who are dying and those about to undergo serious surgery.

While in church, congregants will be barred from shaking hands and there will be no ‘hi-five’ or any kind of physical contact. The sign of peace shared by Catholics may also not be done with physical distance put at 1.5 meters. Every person will be required to wear a facemask in church and those in charge of the offertory will be required to wear gloves.

Ssenyonnyi told journalists at the People Power headquarters in Kamwokya that Uganda needs to adopt the same approach because the threat of COVID-19 could take longer than earlier anticipated.

The Churches were closed in March, alongside schools and other public gatherings as governments across the world feared that they could be a breeding ground for the spread of coronavirus disease. But in May, the American president Donald Trump equally declared that churches, mosques and synagogues are “essential services which could not be kept closed any longer even in the face of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the leader of the people power youth Wing Francis Zaake has appealed to young people who believe in the people power ideology to pick interest in the National Youth Elections due to take place on July 29. Zaake says sensitization campaigns are ongoing to ensure that they gain influence on the National youth council and in parliament.

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