The annual crossover services held by religious organisations across the country is under threat as the Boss Mustapha-led Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 declared that indoor religious gatherings should be limited to 50 per cent with full compliance to public health measures.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha which was made available to journalists on Thursday in Abuja.
Crossover services are significant events held majorly in churches on the night of December 31 every year to usher in the New Year.
It is a time when religious organisations, especially Christians, gather to pray and worship their Maker for the gift of a New Year. Customarily, the services begin a few hours before midnight and end some minutes after, depending on the denomination.
Due to the number of attendees of such events across the country, the PSC explained that there has been reduced compliance to public health social measures which has led to increased COVID-19 cases in the country.
The committee, however, added that it may be forced to introduce more restrictions should there be an increase in cases.
The statement reads in part, “The Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 recognizes the importance of the Christmas and New Year celebrations for most Nigerians. As we prepare to celebrate with our families and loved ones, it is important that we do so safely by taking the necessary precautionary measures to stop the further spread of COVID-19 in our country.
“The PSC wishes to remind Nigerians that we are now experiencing the 4th wave COVID19 as new cases have continued to rise in the country. This is the result of a mix of very low vaccination coverage, increased travels and movements, reduced compliance to public health social measures and highly transmissible Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant now circulating in the country.
The statement further reads, “Indoor religious congregation should be limited to 50% capacity with full compliance to public health social measures; face masks and hand sanitisers should be used at all times regardless of vaccination status while in public spaces.
“Families are advised to limit the number of visitors to their homes and put in place precautionary safety measures. Any gathering in the excess of 50 people should be done in open spaces with physical distancing.
“Avoid non-essential interstate travel at this period as this increases the risk of spreading infection from one place to another. People who intend to travel are encouraged to take a rapid COVID-19 test to confirm status as many infected persons are asymptomatic.
“Ensure that you have taken the full dose of COVID-19 vaccination including the booster dose to reduce your risk of severe infection and death in case of exposure to COVID-19.”