Faith leaders meet in Meghalaya ahead of reopening of places of worship
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Shillong: Days ahead of reopening of places of worship in Meghalaya, chief secretary MS Rao held a meeting with Shillong All Faiths’ Forum (SAFF) on Thursday.

Speaking to mediapersons, Rao said that the meeting was held to discuss and finalise SOPs for reopening of religious places and weddings and also to seek the support of all faith institutions in the vaccination efforts of the government.

Places of worship have been closed since the start of the second wave of COVID-19 in May. The government had recently decided to allow them to reopen from August 16 following COVID-19 appropriate behaviour and protocols.

Only vaccinated people will be allowed to attend weddings or places of worship, said the chief secretary, adding that an advisory will soon be issued in this regard.

Concerning the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination drive in the state, Rao said that the government’s target is to achieve 100% coverage of every eligible citizens of Meghalaya above the age of 18 years.

“One of the inputs that we have got in order to have a better reach in our publicity efforts is to open places of religious worship in a limited manner because that will boost the vaccination drive,” said Rao.

The chief secretary also said that most of them (about 90%) are in favour of vaccination. “So opening places of worship will help the government in reaching out to the respective congregations,” Rao said.

Also read | Meghalaya IED blast: One arrested, case transferred to crime branch

Meanwhile, religious leaders from the Shillong All Faiths’ Forum (SAFF) gave their suggestions concerning reopening of religious places. Most of the Christian leaders have decided to hold as many services they can, so that every person will get an opportunity to attend.

Earlier on July 8, an interaction was held with religious and faith-based leaders across Meghalaya in which they had agreed to play a key role in battling vaccine hesitancy and stop spreading of misinformation over the COVID-19 pandemic.

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