What follows is an abridged version of guidance sent 5th March 2020 to all UK Adventist Churches from the British Union Conference Director for Health, Women’s Ministries and Adventist Community Services, Sharron Platt-McDonald.
Thursday 5th March 2020
NOTIFICATION TO CHURCHES RE COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS
BUC Director for Health, Women’s Ministries and
Adventist Community Services
In light of the increasing spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus, we are advised to follow
the directives from the Department of Health (DoH) and World Health Organisation (WHO).
These can be found at the following websites:
Additional guidance has also been given by the General Conference Health Ministries Department.
d) GC/TED Document :https://ted.adventist.org/news/1639-ted-advice-on-covid-19-health-and-mission
The BUC Health Ministries department is working with entities across the UK and Ireland to develop an Operational Plan for church services, meetings and events. In the interim, I have formulated the following advice which I recommended for churches, to assist in the safety and wellbeing of members and visitors.
- Carry tissues and use them to catch coughs, sneezes and wiping your nose, then carefully bin the tissue and wash your hands.
- Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and dry thoroughly.
- Regular hand washing throughout the day is advised.
- Use toilet tissue to touch toilet handles, bathroom taps and opening bathroom doors.
- Use hand sanitizers after touching surfaces.
- Use knuckles to operate light switches if concerned.
- Open doors with elbows or tissues if you are worried.
The recommendation by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and department of Health (DOH) is to stand at least 1 metre (3 feet) away from people who are coughing, sneezing and sniveling. This is to avoid you breathing in tiny droplets which may contain the virus when people cough and sneeze.
Greeting each other
To protect personal space and prevent the spread of the virus, please adhere to the following:
- Avoid handshakes, hugging and kissing.
- Alternatives would be to smile, wave, nod and bow.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Viruses can live on surfaces for a few days. When we touch surfaces where the virus may have been deposited, then touch our eyes, nose or mouth, the virus can enter from there.
If you are unwell, please worship at home and watch services on line.
If you have a high temperature (38C /100.4F or above) or are concerned about a low-grade fever (37.5C – 38C), coughing and are experiencing breathing difficulties or breathlessness, ring 111 for advice.
If the above symptoms are present and you are concerned you may have the virus, please remain at home and ring 111. You will be assessed and advised whether you need to be tested for the virus. Do not attend your GP practice but rather call your GP to let them know.
During self-isolation, or if quarantine is advised by a health professional, you should not use public transport, attend public places, or go into work, college, university or school. This could be for a period of 2 weeks.
Older members and individuals with chronic illnesses
It is important to keep in touch with our older members and those with ongoing health conditions during this time. They are the most vulnerable to the virus. You may need to advise them to worship at home, especially if they are frail or currently unwell.
Keeping in touch with them so they do not feel isolated is essential. You may do this through regular phone calls to see how they are doing and to ensure they have adequate resources such as food items and essential utilities.
Let us commit to lifting up prayers for those impacted by the COVID-19 Coronavirus and the families, friends and communities who are grieving the loss of loved ones as a result.
We continue to petition God in our daily prayers as we seek His intervention to halt the spread of this virus. We stand on the power and promise of His Word in Psalm 91 as we embrace the protection that God offers us as we abide in Him.
“No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.” Psalm 91:10,11
Yours in Christ and Christian Service
BUC Director for Health, Women’s Ministries and Adventist Community Services