Kohima: The Diocese of Kohima on Thursday informed that although the Nagaland state government has allowed the opening of religious places/places of worship, Catholic churches shall remain in status quo till further information. The state government, after a high-powered committee review meeting, had on Wednesday decided to allow opening of religious places in the state.
“After having some discussion, we have decided that we shall continue to maintain the status quo (that is, not opening the religious places), until wider consultation is done and decision will be taken and information be given out. Before we decide to open our Churches for public worship, we need to make sure that we are able to adhere to the provisions and conditions stipulated about it,” an update from the Bishop of Kohima, Most Rev Dr James Thoppil said.
The bishop said that there is a need to sensitise and train the people to observe the provisions of the law and ensure that sufficient volunteers are put in place to help in carrying them out. “Therefore kindly keep to the status quo of not opening the religious places until further information is given out,” the Bishop reiterated.
Earlier on Wednesday, a review meeting of the high-powered committee (HPC) on COVID-19 was held under the Chairmanship of chief minister Neiphiu Rio where it deliberated on the status of the existing lockdown measures in the State. The HPC had decided to allow the opening of religious places in the State, subject to adherence to the provisions of SOP issued by the Union ministry of health and family welfare.
An order from the chief secretary’s office on Wednesday evening allowed religious places/places of worship to open for the public in the State of Nagaland with immediate effect, subject to adherence of the provisions issued by the health ministry. Religious places/places of worship for public in Containment Zones shall remain closed and only those outside containment zones are allowed to open up.
Accordingly, person above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant woman and children below the age of 10 years are advised to stay at home. The generic preventive measures include simple public health measures that are to be followed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 and must be observed by all (workers and visitors) in these places at all times. Use of face covers/masks is mandatory and all Individuals must maintain a minimum distance of six feet in public places as far as feasible. Practice of proper hand hygiene and cough hygiene must be ensured.
All religious places, as per the order must ensure that the number of persons are allowed in any religious place/place of worship at any point of time should not be more than 30% of the capacity of that building/place. All religious places shall be kept open for worship between 5:00 am to 5:00 pm only and entrance must have mandatory hand hygiene (sanitizer dispenser) and thermal screening provisions. Only asymptomatic persons will be allowed to enter only if using face cover/masks.