KAMPALA — New Church of Uganda Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu has warned Christians against hugging and handshakes during greetings, wish another peace, weddings, funerals, overnight prayers, and Sunday services.
He has asked all Bishops, clergy and Christians to pray for Uganda to be spared from coronavirus and for the Lord to intervene in the global pandemic by reducing infections and healing those affected.
In a lengthy statement to to congregations regarding coronavirus, Dr Kaziimba says whereas the virus has not yet entered Uganda, the public should take take precautionary measures issued by health Ministry.
He has urged the public to follow the ministry of health guidelines for personal behaviour and asked the public to seek medical in case of unusual conditions.
“If you develop cough or flu, stay home from work, school, and church. Do not use public transport. Keep two metres between you and care-givers. Make sure the place where you are recovering is regularly cleaned, including toilets, bath rooms, and other surfaces you may touch.”
“Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Wash your hands many times during the day. If soap and water are not available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.”
“When you cough or sneeze, do it in a handkerchief or a tissue or into the elbow portion of your arm. Wash handkerchiefs daily in jik and put all tissues in dustbins.”
“Do not shake hands or hug people. Greet with your elbows or waving.”
“Daily clean surfaces you touch with your hands – water taps, door handles, light switches, cell phones, etc.
” After handling money, wash your hands thoroughly.
“Do not touch your face – your eyes, nose, or mouth – with your hands.
“If you are put under self-quarantine, please take it seriously and do what you are told to do.
“Reschedule non-essential travel outside of Uganda to reduce the opportunity for exposure.
Dr. Kaziimba has asked the churches to use public gatherings to regularly sensitize members on coronavirus and personal behaviour to avoid transmission of the virus.
During baptisms, Dr. Kaziimba has said that those involved in a baptism should thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water before the baptism – pastors, parents, and godparents.
‘For infants, he has advised that the clergy should request parents or godparents to hold the child while pouring water.
OnHoly Communion, he says all clergy involved in Holy Communion must wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water before Holy Communion.
“Christians receiving Holy Communion should use hand sanitizer before receiving Holy Communion.”
“During greetings and the passing of the peace, all Christians should avoid shaking hands or hugging. Try to keep a distance of two metres between you and other people and greet by waving.”
“For all public gatherings – weddings, funerals, overnight prayers, Sunday services, etc. – avoid shaking hands and hugging. Try to keep a distance of two metres between you and other people and greet by waving.”
“Bishops and clergy should carefully and thoroughly wash their hands before confirmation. Confirmands should use hand sanitizer before going forward for confirmation. Bishops should use hand sanitizer before and after confirming each person.”
“Clergy, Lay Readers, and other small group leaders are encouraged to pray for the sick. If you visit the sick, wear appropriate protective clothing and pray for them without touching them; keep at least two metres of distance. Avoid stigmatizing those who fall sick.”
He says that all churches should have stations with hand sanitizer, and members should use hand sanitizer as they arrive at church, before Holy Communion, and when leaving church.
He adds that all churches must provide hand-washing stations near toilets/latrines with soap and water.
He says the new recommendations stand until the Ministry of Health updates their recommendations for churches.
“For now, we urge all Christians to set the example for godly and healthy living – Do not be anxious; do not put the Lord your God to the test; and follow all personal and corporate guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health.”
The formal declaration by the WHO of COVID-19 or any other infectious disease as pandemic tells governments, agencies and aid organizations worldwide to shift efforts from containment to mitigation. It has economic, political and societal impacts on a global scale and the WHO takes extreme care when making tis determination.
Quick Facts about Coronavirus:
As of March 13, the official numbers count excess of 120,000 cases in at least 114 countries. Eight countries, including the U.S., have more than 1,000 cases each, with China the most hit.
Precautions for the Public:
UNICEF and WHO emphasize:
- Avoid touching surfaces unnecessarily.
- Wash hands with soap often.
- Sneeze responsibly in tissue and get rid of them immediately.
- Use sanitizers.
- Avoid crowded places.