Egypt s Coptic Orthodox churches will suspend masses and other services in Cairo and Alexandria starting Monday for one month due to rising numbers of coronavirus cases detected among clergymen and churchgoers.
According to an official statement released by the Coptic Orthodox Church on Saturday, Sunday s schools, meetings, services and masses will be also be suspended.
Priests in every church will be allowed to hold only one mass weekly in the presence of a maximum of five deacons only.
Funeral services will be allowed with the participation of only one priest and only one deacon alongside the family of the deceased, with halls designated for mourning services to be closed until conditions improve.
Baptism will only be allowed in churches in the attendance of a maximum of four members of the child s family.
The statement added that study at institutes and educational centres will continue with a reduced maximum attendance rate of 25 percent.
As for the dioceses, each bishop can decide what suits the health situation in his diocese in cooperation with the congregation of priests, according to the statement.
The church also called for priests, deacons and churchgoers to "precisely" adhere to all precautionary measures.
After more than four months of suspension as part of broader measures aimed to curb the spread of the pandemic, Orthodox churches across the country resumed in early August public masses, prayers and funerals, with many anti-coronavirus measures put in place.
Egypt has witnessed an increase in the daily coronavirus infection toll recorded over the last several weeks, with daily infections exceeding the 400-mark following months of a lower and steady rate.
Several steps have been taken recently by the government to address the recent rise in coronavirus cases, including fining those who do not wear facemasks on public transport or in crowded places, and shutting non-compliant places for three days, as well as reducing shopping hours.
The virus has so far infected 118,014 and killed 6,750 in the country since the outbreak began in February.