The Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church decided on Sunday to suspend mass service in Cairo and Alexandria, as well as Sunday school services and church meetings in response to the surge of COVID-19 cases the country is reporting.
The priests of each church will be allowed to hold only one mass per week with the attendance of no more than five deacons for the next month.
“The decision comes to limit gatherings after the increase in the number of coronavirus infections,” the church said in a statement.
The evening rites of the Coptic month of Kiahk have been suspended completely, and recordings of them will instead be broadcasted on Christian satellite channels.
It has also been decided that studies will continue in seminaries, institutes and educational centers at 25 percent capacity.
The official Coptic Orthodox Church spokesperson Paul Halim said that the church had lost a large number of its clergy and priests to coronavirus since the pandemic took hold.
Halim stressed that all Egyptians must take care and follow the official instructions issued by Egypt’s Health Ministry and the World Health Organization (WHO) in order to curb the spread of the virus.
He pointed out that Egypt has entered the second wave of the virus outbreak, which requires more severe measures to limit transmission among the public.
Halim said that funerals will be held in the presence of the family of the deceased only, and if the death is due to the coronavirus, the prayer for the deceased will take place in a cemetery only.
The Wednesday sermon of His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of Saint Mark Episcopate, will be on Wednesday without an audience.
The Health Ministry announced 418 new coronavirus cases and 21 virus-related deaths on Sunday.