March 11, 2020
All Believers Missionary Church Association in Jamaica (MCAJ)
Re: Responding to Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Dear Fellow Believers,
As of the writing of this letter the nation has been informed about the first confirmed (imported) case of COVID-19 in Jamaica, followed in short order by a second case and the placing of several persons in quarantine. The risk of mass hysteria and panicking is very real. Many persons are fearing the worst, but fear is never the best option, as it the opposite of having faith in our unchanging God. Instead of harboring, as the people of God, we should remember the words of our Lord Jesus, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27). Ask God for His grace to enable us to reject anxiety and respond in faith to this crisis in a way that pleases Him (Phil. 4:6). Please consider the following recommended guidelines as we contemplate our response to COVID-19.
Stay Informed and Don’t Misinform.
- Remain aware of current information only from credible sources such as the Ministry of Health & Wellness (www.moh.gov.jm) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov). Keep in mind what is already known:
The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2“, and the illness it causes is called “COVID-2019” or COVID-19“. The illness, COVID-19 can present the following symptoms, which resemble the flu: fever, cough, shortness of breath, feeling weak. These symptoms may appear between 2 and 14 days after exposure. COVID-19 is spread through:
- a) respiratory droplets released by an ill person when he/she sneezes, coughs or exhales.
- b) touching a surface contaminated by the virus (e.g. desks, doorknobs, telephones, taps in bathrooms, etc.) and then touching one’s eyes, nose or mouth.
- Do not forward any message on social media without confirming its credibility.
- Try to maintain a safe distance of 1 meter from all persons.
- Avoid shaking hands.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth if at all possible.
- Cover a cough or sneeze with a tissue or with your elbow. If you use a tissue, throw it away in a bin and cover the bin.
- Clean your hands regularly by washing them with soap and water or by using hand sanitizer containing at least 62% alcohol. Hand washing should last for at least 20 seconds each time.
- Perform alcohol hand rub, using preparations of 62% and above, after touching things such as money, elevator buttons and door handles.
Advice to Local Churches
- Pay careful attention to cleaning schedules, ensuring that surfaces such as benches, tables, door handles, light switches and telephones are sanitized. Bleach, commercial bleach wipes, Lysol can be used. (See mentioned websites for more details).
- Sanitize musical instruments and microphones before using.
- Encourage regular hand washing among members. Ensure that soap and water are readily available in the bathrooms. It may help if posters are displayed which promote these practices.
- If possible, place hand sanitizing stations at strategic points in the building (e.g. main entrance).
- The person serving communion must sanitize their hands before doing so.
- Inform all members that anyone who is ill with a cough or fever needs should stay at home until the symptoms have disappeared (usually 14 days).
- Older persons, especially those with underlying illnesses, should stay away from large group meetings.
- Advise all members to consult ‘national travel advice‘ before going overseas.
- Consider using creative and safe ways of greeting…..bowing to each other, etc.
The Executive will endeavor to adhere to the national directives regarding the gathering of persons. As such, we will adopt a wait and see posture about Conference and Convention and communicate definitively as more information is received.
I encourage you to use this crisis as an opportunity to share with your unsaved friends and family members about the coming of our Lord and the need to be saved.
We hope that these guidelines will help as we maneuver our way through this global crisis which is now a reality in Jamaica.