The Hindu and Muslim communities in KwaZulu-Natal are being urged to stay away from mosques and temples and to cancel social gatherings and events.
In a statement, the Muslim Judicial Council said it was the responsibility of every person to curb the spread of Covid-19. Infections have spiralled in recent weeks, with positive cases breaching the one million mark on December 27.
The Council said it had met with a panel of medical professionals that has been advising it during the pandemic and with members of the Fatwa committee and the General Majlis to create a new set of directives.
“The greatest fueller of the present wave must be acknowledged to be social gatherings within our community, be they of a religious or mundane nature,” the council said. “Our responsibility as Muslims, as well as citizens of this country, demands that we take active steps towards curbing the spread of this devastating virus.”
They have advised people to use virtual methods of social interaction, such as Zoom and Skype, and to defer weddings to a later date. If a wedding does go ahead it should be conducted in a way that minimises the threat of spreading the virus.
The council said only the bare minimum of people should attend funerals and that all members of the community should remain indoors, only leaving home when it is necessary.
The Midlands Hindu Society, an affiliate of the South African Hindu Maha Sabha, has also called on people to follow Covid-19 regulations.
Strict regulations have been put in place, in consultation with the Purohit Council of the Shree Sanathan Dharma Sabha of SA, Arya Samaj South Africa, and other religious and faith-based organisations.
“We have now entered a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic as the number of infections begin to rise exponentially in the traditional holiday period,” the South African Hindu Maha Sabha said.
“The daily numbers are rising alarmingly. Worryingly it is infecting young people too. We all have family and friends who have been infected and some have sadly passed on.
“It is incumbent on all of use to take the necessary measures to combat the disease. It has to be a collective effort.”
Hindu leaders have also urged devotees to wear masks, sanitise, maintain social distance and stay at home.
A maximum of 100 people are allowed in temples at any one time, and all those who attend have to fill out a register with names, ID numbers, phones numbers and addresses. Use of a temperature scanner is mandatory and temples must be sanitised before and after each prayer and religious gathering.
Anyone who has any flu-like symptoms including a sore throat, continuous coughing and fever, should avoid visiting the temple and self-quarantine until the symptoms disappear.