Egyptian churches open doors to visitors

Egyptian army soldier stands guard in front of Saint Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Cairo, Egypt December 31, 2017. (REUTERS)
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Updated 05 August 2020

Egyptian churches open doors to visitors

  • The regulations for the gradual return of Friday prayers will only be announced after they are discussed by the Council of Ministers.

CAIRO: Coptic Orthodox churches in Egypt are accepting visitors after a four-month closure to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The decision to shut the churches came during a Standing Committee meeting with the Holy Synod headed by Pope Tawadros on March 21.
The reopening on Aug. 3 coincides with the birthday of the late Pope Shenouda III.
Churches in Cairo and Alexandria accepted worshippers for prayers, while those in cities where the outbreak was limited, such as Luxor, reopened in June. Churches have taken steps to ensure the safety of visitors and staff, including regular cleaning and monitoring of visitors’ health and adherence to guidelines.
When visitors enter churches, body temperatures are checked and there is a disinfection process. Shoes are cleaned with a piece of chlorine-soaked cloth and ethyl alcohol is used to wash hands. Each visitor must bring their own handkerchief. All worshippers must wear face masks and maintain safe distances from one another.
The Egyptian Ministry of Awqaf said the regulations for the gradual return of Friday prayers will only be announced after they are discussed by the Council of Ministers.
In a bid to stop the spread of misinformation surrounding the plans, the ministry said the only accurate source of official information is through its website.
The ministry denied rumors that precautionary measures would include cutting the length of Friday sermons to 10 minutes.
Abdullah Hassan, spokesman for the Ministry of Awqaf, said that no official announcement on the return of Friday prayers has been made.
Hassan added that there have been several meetings on the issue of Friday prayers. The findings will be presented to the coronavirus crisis management committee following the Eid Al-Adha holiday.
Hassan urged Egyptian media outlets to ensure the accuracy and truthfulness of news. He added that people should report individuals who makes false claims.


Dubai penalizes businesses flouting coronavirus safety protocols

Updated 23 min 15 sec ago

Dubai penalizes businesses flouting coronavirus safety protocols

DUBAI: The Dubai government has penalized 22 commercial establishments for flouting coronavirus safety protocols and risking the heath of customers and staff.

Six of those who have been issued fines were bodybuilding gyms, while some were engaged in retail, textile and fabrics, sewing and embroidery, building materials and general trade, state news agency WAM reported.

The common violations incurred included employees’ lack of commitment to wearing masks and breach of physical distancing guidelines.

Field inspection teams also warned two other businesses for their failure to place the mandatory physical distancing stickers inside their shops.

Compliance is critical to the gradual return to safe and normal commercial activity that Dubai has achieved, leading to the opening of all sectors and the economic reset in the emirate, a statement from the Dubai Economy said.

Stern action will be taken against any non-compliance found during its inspections, or that may be reported by consumers and the public, it added.