The Catholic Bishops in Ghana have directed the Clergy and lay faithful of the church to avoid handshakes and embracing one another during the Sign of Peace.
According to the church, the directive is aimed at preventing a potential spread of the deadly 2019 Novel Corona Virus Infection (COVID-19).
The Sign of Peace – during masses in Ghana – is a ceremonial handshake among the congregation as a sign of unity during the church service.
But the church in a statement issued under the hand of the President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Most Rev. Philip Naameh noted that “When hands are visibly dirty, wash with soap and water at least 30 seconds under running water and wipe your hands dry.”
It urged members to receive Holy Communion in the hand instead of on the tongue during Mass.
The statement further advised that with frightening statistics of the spread of the disease worldwide, members must avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands and after touching a sick person or surface that could be contaminated, emphasizing that “when coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue-throw tissue away immediately and wash hands with soap and water.”
The Bishops also called for intensive prayers to end the spread of the disease and advised Catholics and the public to help prevent it.