File Photo: Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral (Photo: Ahram)
The Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church announced further restrictions on religious gatherings until the end of January in Cairo and Alexandria, as Egypt is suffering from the second coronavirus wave.
The decisions, announced by the Orthodox Church’s spokesperson come “within the framework of following up on the health situation and in light of [the] continuous rise in cases infected with novel coronavirus”.
They include reducing the number of participants in the Christmas and Epiphany masses in each church to a maximum of 20 people, as well as the church’s priests.
Only one mass will be held weekly in each church and attendance will be limited to priests and 15 deacons at most.
Sunday schools, meetings, all activities and services will be suspended.
Wedding ceremonies after Christmas Day will be held with the attendance of a priest, a deacon and no more than 20 people from families of the bride and the groom.
Funerals also will be attended by only one priest and a deacon, as well as the family of the deceased.
Third day memorials and baptisms will be suspended and funeral halls will be closed until the situation improves.
Education at seminaries and institutes will be suspended and priests’ visits will be limited to telephone calls.
Priests and deacons should strictly abide by preventive measures against coronavirus.
On Wednesday, Minister of Health Hala Zayed stated that Egypt is currently witnessing the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
Zayed added that there are currently 363 hospitals ready to receive patients as well as 200 extra ventilators available to face the increase in cases.
The Cabinet announced a number of decisions, including cancelling New Year celebrations and imposing tough penalties on violators.
The health ministry reported 1,133 new coronavirus cases and 49 new deaths on Friday, bringing the tally up to 130,126 and 7,309 respectively.