Dr. Hafiz Bin Salih, the Upper West Regional Minister, says the Regional Security Council (REGSEC) will constitute a task force to enforce the COVID-19 directives by the President towards the opening of churches and mosques.
He said any church or mosque that violated the directives such as the one hour worship duration, at least one-meter social distancing and provision of handwashing facilities and alcohol-based hand sanitizers among others, would be closed down and the necessary sanctions applied.
Dr. Bin Salih, who said this at a meeting with the Local Council of Churches in Wa, said he would not want to go to that extent, hence, the need for the churches and mosques to cooperate.
The Minister had held a similar meeting with the leadership of the Muslim community in the region on Tuesday to commend them for the maximum cooperation and supporting the government in the COVID-19 fight and appealed to them to pray for the country.
He said he had invited the leaders of the Zoomlion Ghana Limited to discuss how to fumigate the churches and mosques prior to the opening.
He expressed the hope that with the measures put in place by the President towards the fight against the virus they would win the fight.
“I believe strongly in the measure of His Excellency President Akuffo-Addo in leading our nation in the fight against COVID-19. I believe strongly that we shall win the fight against COVID-19 … let us not miss the opportunity to pray to the almighty God to continue to be merciful and heal our nation”, he explained.
He said the fight against the pandemic was a collective responsibility and appealed to the religious institutions to pray for God’s favour on the country in the face of the pandemic.
Talking on the COVID-19 cases in the region, the Minister said 16 out of the 22 cases recorded had fully recovered and reintegrated into the society.
He added that the first test of the rest had proved negative awaiting results of the second test.
He was hopeful that the second test would also be negative for the region to have all its cases fully recovered.
He, therefore, entreated the religious institutions to sensitise their congregation to COVID-19 stigmatization to enable the people to report early to the health facility anytime they experience symptoms of the virus.
He commended the health workers, traditional authorities, religious leaders, and people of the region for conducting themselves appropriately in the fight against the virus.
The church leaders took turns to seek clarification on the President’s directives on the opening of the churches including positioning of the offering bowl and registration of the congregants.
Reverend Braimah Mohammed Benjamin, the Head Pastor of the World Redemption Ministry, appealed to the government to include churches in the COVID-19 relief package for businesses as some of the churches were run like businesses and employed many people.