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COVID-19: Nigerians Celebrate Christmas In An ‘Unusual’ Way

ChristmasIt is Christmas again and Christians in Nigeria have joined their fellow believers in various parts of the world to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

Christmas Day, which is commemorated on December 25 annually, is declared as a public holiday not just in Nigeria but also in many other nations.

It is accompanied by the teachings of Christ which include showing love to one another and tolerance among other Christian virtues.

Unlike the usual practice where Christians celebrate freely by going to churches for service and visiting relaxation centres, this year’s Christmas is being marked with restrictions.

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Christians gather at the Our Lady Queen Of Nigeria Catholic Pro-Cathedral in Abuja for the Christmas service on December 25, 2020. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

This is as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that put a pause to life, forcing the people to get used to a new way of life.

Since the virus first broke out in December 2019 in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province in China, it has spread to many countries, infecting almost 80 million people across the world.

Of the cases recorded, almost 45 million people have recovered from the disease but no fewer than 1.7 million lost the battle to the virus.

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A woman sings during the Christmas service held at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Catholic Pro-Cathedral in Abuja on December 25, 2020. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

Nigeria is not left out as the country has reported a total of 81,963 cases, out of which 11,070 are active, 69,651 people have been discharged, with 1,242 deaths recorded.

These figures were released by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Thursday night.

As the country sees an alarming increase in the number of new cases after an initial relaxation of restrictions, authorities in various states have begun to re-enforce them.

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Worshippers and priests attend the Christmas service held at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Catholic Pro-Cathedral in Abuja on December 25, 2020. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

On Christmas eve, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 insisted that the 12am-4am curfew remained in force.

The PTF National Coordinator, Dr Sani Aliyu, also announced new protocols as part of measures to curb the spread of the disease, including the closure of bars and clubs in various parts of the country.

He asked the security agencies to enforce the protocols on the use of face masks and physical distancing, as well as called for a delay in the resumption of schools until at least January 18, 2021.

Dr Aliyu directed civil servants on Grade Level 12 and below to work from home and asked the permanent secretaries in the respective ministries to enforce the order.

As authorities enforce these directives, Christians trooped out on Friday morning to attend the Christmas service.

However, the occasion is being celebrated in an unusual way as worshippers wear facemasks and observe social distancing in churches opened for service.

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