File Photo: Pope Tawadros II, the pope of the Coptic Orthodox church (Photo: Reuters)
Any church that fails to implement safety measures and protocols against coronovirus or reports any cases of infection will risk closure for 15 days, the Orthodox Coptic Church announced on Tuesday.
The decision, one of a host taken to help curb infection rates among church goers, comes after infection rates increased in Egypt in the last month of the 2020.
The decisions, which only apply to churches in Cairo and Alexandria, will go into effect starting 13 January, 2021 and will remain valid until further notice.
The statement, posted on the official Facebook page of the Orthodox Coptic Church, stipulate that Coptic masses and prayers will be allowed to take place during any day of the week on the condition that only one person be allowed per pew.
Masses and prayers for children of specific age groups — primary and secondary stages — will likewise be organised with only one person per pew.
Additionally, any sermons or lectures should not exceed a 15-minute time frame and can serve as a safe alternative to Sunday school lessons and other youth-led activities.
Study groups that used to take place in churches, religious institutes, and other affiliated education centres will be held online.
The Coptic Orthodox Church stated that the father or bishop of each diocese decides what is most suitable as per the safe conditions in each respective district.
In December, the Coptic Orthodox Church imposed restrictions on religious gatherings, including masses such as the all too sacred Christmas Mass.
Egypt has registered 162,486 cases of coronavirus so far, including 127,001 recoveries and 9,012 fatalities.
The rate of infections dropped slighly so far in January after spiking in December compared to previous months.
Copts make up the majority of Egypt's roughly 9 million Christians and are considered the largest Christian community in the Middle East.