Although there is still neither cure nor vaccine for the dreaded coronavirus, many countries have begun gradual relaxation of lockdown measures. Many have succeeded so far; while some saw a hike after easing restrictions.
Last week, the Government of the Gambia also announced some relaxations on the restrictions it had earlier put in place in an effort to stem the spread of coronavirus. Among those restrictions was the closure of places of worship.
The announcement last week revealed plans to reopen mosques and churches last week. This came along with guidelines on how people should act while praying.
Worshippers are told that they should maintain a high standard of hygiene and some physical distancing to avoid the spread of the virus. They are also urged to wear a mask all in an effort to save themselves and others.
However, considering the number of people who will converge at these places of worship (both mosques and churches) it is hard to imagine how the physical distancing part will be exercised. Perhaps, insisting on the wearing of masks and the washing of hands for each worshipper is more realistic.
It is true that the coronavirus has been largely limited and controlled in the Gambia, seeing that up until now there have been only twenty-six cases, there is still apprehension that it could spread fast if people do not adhere to Government guidelines.
As the healthcare system is weak, it is more prudent to focus on the prevention. It is therefore necessary that the people support the Government in its effort to prevent a spread of the virus by adhering to all the regulations for the benefit of all as the virus knows no distinctions between people.
The relaxation however does not extend to other social gatherings like ‘lumolu’, weddings, funerals and others. The regulations about how commercial vehicles should conduct business also remain in place. Schools remain closed with the exception of the Grade Nine classes who are to write a transitional exam.
What all this shows is that the people who are going to these places of worship must not take it for granted. They should adhere strictly to all guidelines so that they will not be the cause of an explosion in coronavirus cases.