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Unlock 1: Guidelines For Religious Places To Prevent The Spread Of COVID-19

In an attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has now issued detailed guidelines for religious places on preventive measures

Unlock 1: Guidelines For Religious Places To Prevent The Spread Of COVID-19
Highlights
  • Only asymptomatic individuals are allowed entry inside religious places
  • Devotees must wear a face mask/cover while visiting places of worship
  • Touching of statutes, idols, holy books; physical offerings isn’t allowed

New Delhi: After over 60 days of the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 disease, India announced Unlock 1, a gradual easing out of the Coronavirus lockdown on June 1. In the first phase of the Unlock 1 which began on June 8, malls, hotels, restaurants and places of worship were allowed to open in non-containment zones but with precautions like regular sanitisation, mandating the use of face mask, among others. In an attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has now issued detailed guidelines for religious places on preventive measures.

Also Read: World Health Organisation Issues A Guide On The Use Of Different Types Of Face Mask To Fight Coronavirus Pandemic

The guidelines call for following COVID appropriate behaviour at all times because every individual is at risk and if infected, he/she can spread the infection to others in and outside the home. Resuming life and stepping out of the house means following generic measures – practising hand hygiene; respiratory etiquettes – covering mouth and nose with tissue or handkerchief or flexed elbow while coughing or sneezing followed by proper disposal of used tissues; maintaining adequate social distance; using face covers or masks; not spitting in public places.

Religious Places Specific Measures

The Government of India has issued guidelines for all religious places across India to contain the spread of COVID-19. The guidelines call for a provision of mandatory sanitiser dispensers and thermal screening at the entrance; allowing entry to only asymptomatic persons and individuals wearing a face mask/cover.

Along with this, there should be separate entry and exit point for visitors and the premises should have specific markings with sufficient distance so as to follow social distancing norms. The social distancing (a distance of 6 feet between two people) needs to be followed at community kitchens while preparing and distributing food. The crowd management is also essential outside the premises and in parking lots.

Also Read: Stricter COVID-19 Lockdown On Weekends And Public Holidays: Punjab Government

Recorded songs or devotional music must be played rather than choir groups performing religious songs.

All the visitors are supposed to take off their footwear insider their private vehicle or keep it in the shoe rack on their own. Following this, before entering the religious place, one must wash their hands and feet with soap and water. Touching of statutes, idols or holy books and physical offerings like Prasad or distribution or sprinkling of holy water is not allowed.

For prayer, devotees must bring their mat rather than using common prayer mat.

The ministry guidelines further say that inside the premises, the temperature setting of all air conditioning devices should be in the range of 24-30 degrees Celsius and relative humidity should be in the range of 40-70 per cent. There should be adequate cross ventilation and intake of fresh air.

Also Read: MP’s Worst Hit COVID-19 District Records 66 Per Cent Recovery: All You Need To Know About Indore’s Fight Against Coronavirus

Through posters and standees, COVID preventive measures should be displayed at all times. The standard operating procedure (SOP) asks for effective and frequent sanitisation especially at lavatories, drinking and hand/foot-washing stations; regular cleaning and disinfection of the religious place.

Generic Preventive Measures To Prevent COVID-19

It goes unsaid that all establishments and individuals must follow generic preventive measures which include thermal screening of all entrants and staff; maintaining a physical distance of 6 feet while queuing for entry in public places; staggering of visitors.

An individual must self-monitor his/her health and in case of illness, he/she should immediately report to state or district helpline. The government also recommends the use of Aarogya Setu mobile application.

Also Read: Fighting COVID-19 And Unlocking India: Malls, Hotels, Temples Set To Reopen On June 8, Here’s How

The vulnerable group consisting of pregnant women, people aged more than 65 years, children aged less than 10 years and people with comorbidities such as hypertension, diabetes are advised to stay at home. They must venture out only in case of essential services and health purposes.

Also Read: WHO Revises Guidelines On Usage Of Masks To Avoid COVID-19: All You Need To Know

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