Covid-19: Religious organisations support ban on gatherings

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  • Religious organisations have voiced their support for the ban on religious gatherings.
  • Under the adjusted Level 4 lockdown, all gatherings, including religious ones, are prohibited.
  • The restrictions will be in place for at least two weeks.

Religious organisations have expressed their support for the ban on religious and other gatherings after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the move to adjusted Level 4 lockdown restrictions on Sunday night.

READ | Covid-19: SA records 13 347 new cases as death toll climbs by 226

The Muslim Judicial Council SA (MJCSA) stated that all Masajid must temporarily suspend all activities for the next 14 days.

"The new Delta variant and its level of transmissibility, as well as the preventative measures adopted by our government, have necessitated that the manner in which Muslims conduct their religious obligations align with the universal imperative of containing the spread of the virus," the MJCSA said in a statement.

"Muslims, as much as they carry the obligation of certain religious observances, also share with all the other South Africans and citizens of the world the civil responsibility of ensuring safety and preserving life."

'Goal of saving lives'

READ | Covid-19: Western Cape teachers brace the cold to be vaccinated

Synagogues had already closed in some parts of the country before the announcement of the new restrictions, said SA Jewish Board of Deputies national director Wendy Kahn.

"Jewish religious leadership, in consultation with medical experts, took the decision to close Gauteng synagogues two weeks ago in light of escalating rates of infection," she said.

She said:

It is incredibly hard for religious communities to not be able to join together in prayer, especially during such challenging times. However, we understand the imperative of limiting gatherings to curb the further spread of the virus and, with the goal of saving lives, support these measures.

Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa Thabo Makgoba said many churches had already moved to online services before the president's announcement.

"Church dioceses in Gauteng and one in the Western Cape had already moved all their services online before the president prohibited all gatherings. [I] have always urged bishops to make protecting the lives and health of church members their top priority, and [my] Covid advisory team always advises churches to err on the side of caution," he said.

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