Covid-19: Religious leaders ask congregants to be cautious to avoid second wave

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  • Religious leaders have urged congregants to be cautious to avoid a second wave of infections.
  • This followed reports of new infections and of people ignoring Covid-19 protocols.
  • Under the Level 1 lockdown, religious gatherings still have limits on the number of participants and must adhere to health protocols and social distancing.

Religious leaders this week urged congregants to remain vigilant to minimise the risk of a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

Under Level 1 of the lockdown, gatherings at faith-based institutions are limited to 250 people indoors or 500 people outdoors. No more than 50% of the venue can be used and participants must adhere to health protocols and social distancing.

In a joint statement issued by the SA Jewish Communal leadership, it warned congregants that it had received reports of 31 new cases in the Johannesburg Jewish community from the emergency medical service Hatzolah's records alone.

The statement was issued by the Office of the Chief Rabbi, the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, Professor Barry Schoub, Dr Richard Friedland and Professor Efraim Kramer.

"It seems that the majority of these cases may have come from private social gatherings and not from shuls or schools," they said.

READ | Lockdown: Mixed reaction from religious leaders to relaxed rules for gatherings

"The threat of a resurgence of the epidemic is still very real as has now been shown by the recent upsurge and it is critically important for people to maintain their vigilance and caution with regards to the safety protocols."

They advised congregants to avoid social gatherings at people's homes.

"This is not the time for complacency. This is the time for caution, which can save many people from serious illness and loss of life."

The Muslim Judicial Council of South Africa (MJC) also cautioned people this week.

It commended places of worship for implementing health measures, but noted "some members of our community are not strictly adhering to physical distancing protocols by stopping to wear masks and even engaging in physical contact through hand shaking".

"Whilst during non-Covid times this behaviour would have been acceptable, at the moment we still need to exercise patience until we're advised it is safe to do so," MJC spokesperson Mujaahid White said.

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