The Coptic Orthodox Church announced, on Saturday, it will postpone reopening churches in Cairo and Alexandria until mid-July, due to the increased coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in these cities.
Following a videoconference meeting of the permanent committee of the Holy Synod, the church added that it will evaluate the situation in mid-July.
Come mid-July, every Bishop will decide, alongside the council of priests in each diocese, whether to resume prayers under strict precautionary measures. Bishops will be given the choice of remaining closed for a further two weeks or more, depending on the ongoing health situation.
The Orthodox Mass of the Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, which is due to take place on 12 July, will be excluded from the closures but with a limit of 25 worshippers in attendance. All health precautions will remain in place during the Masses.
Weekly prayers and gatherings on Fridays and Sundays will be suspended at all churches, with all those who do decide to gradually reopen required to commit to all precautionary measures that will be issued.
Last week, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced the reopening of places of worship across Egypt starting from 27 June. Precautionary measures will remain in place at all places of worship to avoid the further spread of the coronavirus.
Mosques and churches will only be open for daily prayer services, but will remain closed to weekly Friday and Sunday gatherings for both Muslims and Christians.
On 21 March, Egypt announced the closure of all churches and mosques amid efforts to curb the outbreak of the virus.