Home FAQ COVID-19 Guidance for Clergy, Church workers and Volunteers

COVID-19 Guidance for Clergy, Church workers and Volunteers

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  1. HOW CAN YOUR CHURCH CONTRIBUTE TO VACCINATION CAMPAIGNS?

While masks, social distancing, and handwashing does help us build protection COVID-19 vaccination is a safer way to help build protection.

  • Spread vaccine awareness in your congregations.
  • Support the Government campaign for Vaccination.
  • Take the Vaccine and appeal to your congregation to take the vaccine (through audio/ video formats)
  • Remove fears and doubts of your congregation members to counter Vaccine hesitancy.
  • Help your congregation members to register and schedule the vaccine through the COWIN portal and AROGYA app.

Information Regarding COVID-19 Vaccine (mohfw.gov.in)

  1. WHAT INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE ON VACCINATION?

The center has announced a “liberalised and accelerated” Phase 3 strategy for vaccinations against the coronavirus under which all adults will be eligible for inoculations from May 1.

All vaccinations would be part of the National Vaccination Programme and mandated to follow all protocols such as being captured on CoWIN platform, linked to AEFI reporting, and all other prescribed norms.

Vaccination shall continue as before in the Government of India vaccination centers. Currently, vaccination is free at Government hospitals and charged at INR 250 in Private hospitals for citizens aged 45 years and above.

From 1st May onwards, the Vaccination for people of 45 years or more will continue to be free at the Government facilities. For people between 18 to 44 years, the States will announce the policy relating to payment. Vaccination will be priced by private facilities and you can see the price of each vaccine at the time of booking.

The system will show the vaccine being administered in each vaccination centre at the time of scheduling an appointment. Citizens can choose the vaccination center as per their choice of vaccine being administered However, the choice will not be available at the Government facilities.

For more information regarding vaccination click here: CoWIN.

  1. CAN CHURCHES OPEN FOR INDIVIDUAL PRAYER?

Individuals are permitted to visit places of worship and offer prayers only. No gathering or function is allowed.

Please also refer to the lockdown guidelines offered by your State Government regarding movement during the Lockdown period.

  1. CAN CHURCHES HOLD SERVICES OF WORSHIP?

The SOP of the Government clearly states that “there shall be no gatherings, functions, etc”. Any religious gathering is not allowed in the Church building or elsewhere.

Refer the government order by your State Government 

  1. WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO IF PUBLIC WORSHIP IS SUSPENDED?

Worship services (either live or recorded) can be broadcast using social media tools such as Facebook Live, Youtube, and digital platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft team, etc which enable the members to watch the service.

  1. HOW CAN WE HOLD A PASTORATE COMMITTEE MEETING?

Pastorate Committee meetings can be held using virtual means such as Teams or Zoom which enable the members to see and hear each other.

  1. CAN FUNERALS GO AHEAD?

As per guidelines issued by Govt. of India, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare & other scientific Bodies the SOPs for management of dead bodies would be.

THE TEAM SHOULD CONSIST OF

  • Health personnel (at least four) will be involved in handling and packaging the dead body and transfer the dead body to the van or ambulance for the cremation place or burial ground.
  • A driver who transports dead body from hospital to cremation ground

PROCEDURE FOR HANDLING DEAD BODIES

• Member of dead body handling team should be fully protected by PPE (work clothes, medical disposable protecting clothing, disposable gloves and thick rubber gloves with long sleeves, medical protective mask, protective face shield & shoes covered with waterproof shoe cover & waterproof apron).

• All tubes, drains, catheters on the body should be removed & take care of while handling sharp articles like IV cannula, etc. which should be disposed of as per norms.

• If the family of the patient wishes to view the body at the time of removal from the isolation room or area, they may be allowed to do so with the application of the standard procedure.

• All the openings of corpse such as mouth, nose, ears, etc. & wound openings if any like tracheostomy opening should be packed with disinfectant by using cotton or gauze dipped in 3000- 5000 mg per liter chlorine-containing disinfectant or 0.5% per-oxy acetic acid or 1% sodium hypochlorite solution.

• Wrap the dead body with a double layer cloth sheet soaked with disinfectant and pack it into a leak-proof plastic body bag, the exterior of which again be decontaminated with 1% sodium hypochlorite solution.

• Place the plastic body bag in the closed coffin mounted stretcher. The stretcher to be properly disinfected once the body is transferred.

• The body will be transferred by the administration to the CMO to arrange for transport to the crematorium under police supervision.

• Finally, disinfection shall be done as per norm. [All surfaces of the isolation area (floors, beds, railings, side tables, IV stands, van, or ambulance, etc.) should be wiped with 1% sodium hypochlorite solution; allow a contact time of 30 minutes, and then allow to air dry.

PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES

• All the staff identified to handle dead bodies in the isolation area, mortuary, ambulance, and those workers in the crematorium/ burial ground should be trained in infection prevention control practices.

AT THE CREMATORIUM/BURIAL GROUND

  • The crematorium/ burial ground staff will practice standard precautions of hand hygiene, use of masks and gloves.
  • Any religious rituals which do not require touching of the dead body can be allowed.
  • Viewing of the dead body by unzipping the face end of the body bag (by the staff using standard precautions) may be allowed, for the relatives to see the body for one last time.
  • Bathing, kissing, hugging, etc. of the dead body should not be allowed.
  • The funeral/burial staff and family members should perform hand hygiene after Cremation/burial. • Anything from these patients like clothing, precious jewelry, watches, etc. not to be handed over to family members directly, without sterilizing.
  • The ash does not pose any risk and can be collected to perform last rites.
  • The large gathering at the crematorium/burial ground should be avoided as a social distancing measure.

For more information read sop-covid-dead-body-management.pdf (kgmu.org)

  1. WHAT GUIDANCE IS IN PLACE FOR CLERGY, CHURCH WORKERS AND VOLUNTEERS WHO ARE DEEMED TO BE AT ADDITIONAL RISK?

The generic preventive measures that include simple public health measures are to be followed to reduce the risk of COVID-19. These measures need to be observed by all; the event managers, organizational staff, and the public visiting the function site and are as follows:

i. Individuals must maintain adequate distance in public places.

ii. Use of face covers/ masks to be mandatory.

iii. Practice frequent hand washing with soap (for at least 40 to 60 seconds) even when hands are not visibly dirty. Use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer (for at least 20 seconds) can be made wherever feasible.

iv. Respiratory etiquettes to be strictly followed. This involves the strict practice of covering one’s mouth and nose while coughing sneezing with tissue and kerchief flexed elbow and disposing of used tissues properly.

v. Self-monitoring of health by all and reporting any illness at the earliest to State and District Helpline.

vi. Spitting should be strictly prohibited.

vii. Installation & use of Arogya Setu app shall be advised to all.

Source: G.O.223.pdf (tn.gov.in) Please refer to the GO regarding Generic preventive measures in your State.