Statement by Interfaith Council for Corona Pandemic Response

Statement by Interfaith Council for Corona Pandemic Response

INTERFAITH COUNCIL FOR CORONA PANDEMIC RESPONSE

PRESSER 26TH NOVEMBER 2020

Preamble

Our dear brothers and sisters,

Covid19 pandemic infections and deaths continue to rise in our countrv, we thank and appreciate our frontline health workers who continue to work tirelessly in fighting this pandemic.

We thank God for keeping, protecting an watching over us as a country despite the rising numbers.

We especially wish to thank Almighty God for watching over and healing  our Chairman Archbishop Anthony Muheria who is recovering from an infection with the virus.

As the Interfaith Council for Corona Response we sympathize, pray and  condole with those that have lost loved ones due to the pandemic and  continually pray for those infected and affected and their families.

Review of the 2nd Phased Re-opening

We are concerned and disheartened by the rising numbers of infections in the country as we continue to lose our beloved  family members, friends and neighbors.

It is worrying that despite the rising cases, the country appears to be losing focus of the importance of combating this pandemic.

Our dear brothers and sisters, the Coronavirus pandemic is the  most serious and existential threat not only to the global community but especially for us.

Our country has the six highest infections in Africa and these are rising fast.

Unfortunately for us, the political elite are not focused on the health  crisis  but on other political  issues.

The Interfaith Council has also noted  with great concern that our  communities are not adhering to the ministry of health guidelines.

For us in faith communities we are alarmed at conduct during funeral gatherings, some of which morph to political meetings.

The laxity in political gatherings are especially of concern as these  meetings pose great danger of being super spreader events.

We are continually beseeching all Religious Leaders, for their cooperation    and collaboration in implementing the set guidelines for phased reopening of in person worship and other religious rites as this not only protects the people attending but the vulnerable people who don’t attend  but with whom our congregants get in contact with after worship.

Further in recognition of the seriousness of the COVID situation and  position that the country   is in, we as the  Interfaith  Council  have  resolved to strengthen and enhance compliance with the current guidelines on phased reopening.

Strengthening Current Guidelines of Phased Reopening

The  Interfaith Council  has continued to access and monitor the COID  situation as reported by our congregations  but also advice  from the  Ministry of Health who serve  in the  Council.

From the National Response Committee update we are  all aware  that  the positivity rate has fluctuated between 13%  to a high of 20%  in the last one month.

According to the WHO to flatten the curve the country has to have a positivity rate of below 5% for over two weeks.

As Interfaith Council we have had to deliberate and consult on the situation in our country and especially in our places of worship.

The major criteria that determined the shifting of the phases in our guidelines were the number of new cases, the number of daily deaths and other indicators like the positivity rate.

After due deliberations and consultations with the Ministry of  Health, we have resolved to strengthen the current Phase on Reopening In-Person  Worship which will begin on Friday 27 November 2020.

In this phase, we are asking the religious leaders to cooperate more closely with the national government administrators and security  personnel at  the  local level to strictly enforce  the  guidelines  on  funerals.

We have reached agreement with the Ministry of Interior and local administrators have been informed that they must control the numbers and conduct  of funerals.

Guidelines in this Phase for In-Person Worship will be characterized by;

  1. Numbers will be determined by social  distancing (1.5  meters) and the size of space available

2.  Time limit will be strictly 90 minutes

3.  Age limit will be over 6 years and under  65 years

4.   Following the protocols of wearing face masks at all times, hand washing before and  after worship  and keeping social  distance.

Use of thermal  guns  is highly encouraged

5.  Please ensure regular disinfection of places of worship

6.  No other meetings or services within the places except worship services

Funerals:

1. All the current  requirements from the Guidelines of hand washing or sanitization stations in the compound, seating  at 1.5m  social  distancing, and where possible temperature checks, will be in force.

2. The number of those attending will be 10, with only 15 allowed at the graveside.

3. The duration of burial must not exceed 1 hour

4. NO FOOD shall be served  in Funerals

Weddings:

1. All the current requirements from the Guidelines of hand washing or sanitization stations in the  compound, seating at 1.5m social distancing, and where  possible temperature checks, will be in force.

2. The number of those attending should be strictly 50.

3. Food is only served to the nucleus family.

Other Rites

There shall be no other  rites for now.

Conclusion

We urge Religious Leaders and ALL of us  to be our brothers and sisters  keepers, by adhering  strictly to the guidelines  as we protect  ourselves, and  our  loved ones.

Let us observe the guidelines as given by the Ministry of Health of  hand washing, social distancing, and wearing of masks.

We encourage dialogue between the Ministry of Health, County governments and health workers to resolve the differences that  may  hinder service provision to Kenyans and at the same time promoting the well-being and protecting all health workers.

Let us pray for our beloved country as we continue to battle  with  this  pandemic.

Let us not lose faith and hope even in the midst of this Pandemic.

May God continue to protect and guide our Nation.  God bless you.

Rev. Connie Kivuti
Vice Chair, Interfaith Council
26th November, 2020

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