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Bayelsa shuts six churches for flouting COVID-19 directive

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The Bayelsa State government has closed six churches in different parts of Yenagoa for violating the safety measures put in place by the state government to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

The affected churches were Living Faith Church, Salvation Victory Centre, Shalom International Christian Centre, Great Grace Distinguished Assembly, Brotherhood of the Cross and Star and Hebrews International Church.

A statement on Monday by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Orientation, Freston Akpor, said the affected churches were sealed off by the security sub-committee of the Bayelsa State COVID-19 Task Force during its unscheduled visits to churches on Sunday.

The state government had on May 20 announced that churches could accommodate 20 worshippers in seating arrangement during worship service on Sundays.

Two weeks earlier, the government had lifted ban on worship services permitting 50 worshippers for big churches and 20 for small churches.

The government, however, warned that “churches must observe physical distance of two metres or six feet apart for worshippers.”

It also advised that it was “compulsory for churches to provide hand sanitizers, running water and soap at their entrances, and ensure the use of face mask by all worshippers.”

Freston said the affected churches the flouted safety measures announced by the government to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

He said, “The six churches were sealed (off) for failure to comply with safety measures put in place by the government to contain the spread of the pandemic and protect the people of Bayelsa.

“The churches will remain sealed until further notice to serve as deterrent to other churches.”

The task force also unsealed two churches, the Halleluya Deliverance Ministry International and Embassy Faith, earlier shut down for violating COVID-19 safety protocols.

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