Egypt's Coptic Pope Tawadros II - Reuters
CAIRO - 28 June 2020: "Only 25 people are allowed to enter Egypt's church to ensure the social distance among the worshippers, in light of the country’s plan to cope with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)," said Pope Tawadros II, the pope of Alexandria and patriarch of the See of St. Mark.
In remarks to “DMC Evening” talk show on DMC channel, the pope said that precautionary measures that include thorough disinfection and wearing face masks will be adopted, noting that the prayers will not be prolonged.
As for marriage and baptism ceremonies, only six to seven people will attend to ensure that the virus will not spread among the attendees, he added.
The Standing Committee of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church held a video conference on June 27, and decided, under the chairmanship of his Holiness Pope Tawadros II, to postpone re-opening churches in Cairo and Alexandria for two weeks or more due to high infection rates in the governorates.
The committee met to assess the health situation with regard to the number of infections, and deaths at dioceses. According to the statement, the committee decided that each priest at each diocese will decide to either resume, suspend, or gradually resume masses in accordance with the health procedures.
Meanwhile, Egyptian mosques and Al-Azhar re-opened on June 27 after being sterilized to receive the worshippers every day except for Fridays, after a three-month closure.
Minister of Awqaf [Endowment] Mukhtar Gomaa said in a sermon in Mohamed Ali Mosque that worshipers should wash for prayers at home, wear a face mask, and avoid hand-shaking. He added that ill people are advised to not go to the mosques, noting that by abiding by these rules, the congregational prayers could be resumed again.
The ministry asked every mosque to provide masks for the worshippers, and close the door of the mosque after completing the number of the worshippers inside. In addition, a 150-centimeter distance among worshippers should be maintained inside mosques nationwide.
According to the rules set by the ministry, the mosque should be opened 10 minutes before the Adhan [the call for prayer] and closed ten minutes after. The violator of the rules will be held accountable.