Churches in Egypt to be reopened gradually on Monday

Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church announced on Saturday it is preparing to gradually reopen its churches on Monday.
Churches nationwide closed in mid-March in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Starting 3 August, churches will be allowed to hold masses, prayers and funerals with no more than one individual on every bench in the church to be compliant with the precautionary measures against the virus.

“Masses can be performed every day except on Fridays,” a statement by the Church read.

Funeral prayers of those who died from the coronavirus will be held at the tombs, not in churches, to preserve general health, the statement noted.

The Orthodox Church said the decision to gradually reopen churches is the result of the reduced infection and death rates the country has been witnessing in the past few weeks.

Egypt’s Christians make up about 10-14 percent of the country’s 100 million-plus population, with the vast majority of Christians in Egypt belonging to the Coptic Orthodox Church.

Egypt has suspended mass prayers at mosques and shut down churches in March in a move aimed at curbing the outbreak of the pandemic in the populous country.