Zimbabwe reopens churches but can arrest defiant worshippers


United Methodist Church

from DANIEL JONES in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
VICTORIA FALLS, (CAJ News) MEMBERS of the public attending church services without vaccinated from the coronavirus face arrest as Zimbabwe battles the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

Church leaders are not exempt from the sanctions.

Monica Mutswangwa, Information Minister, on Wednesday said Zimbabwe noted a 42 percent decrease in new infections in the past week, from 11 652 weekly cases to about 6 781 this week but this was no license for laxity.

“Cabinet wishes to inform the public that churches can now allow sit-in congregants under the following conditions,” she narrated.

“Only congregants who have received two doses of the vaccine are allowed to attend, all Ministry of Health and Child Care and WHO (World Health Organisation) protocols are adhered to. All those found in breach will be arrested, including the leaders of the churches,” Mutsvangwa said.

Local churches resumed towards the end of the year where services were limited to 50 people before another ban in June as the country battled the third wave characterised by the Delta variant.

Some 1 912 592 people had received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Zimbabwe as at August 10.

A total of 1 061 238 citizens had been fully vaccinated at the time of publication.

This translates to a national coverage of 22,3 percent and 12,3 percent for the first and second doses respectively.

Vaccination in border towns, other hotspots and peoples’ markets is progressing as scheduled.

In addition, 2 million syringes procured from Sinopharm of China were received last Tuesday.

Zimbabwe has acquired more than 12 million doses.

Some citizens have been skeptical about the vaccines with some churches discouraging their members from getting inoculated.

Cabinet resolved that more efforts should be done to contain the third wave as the country also fears the possibility of a fourth wave.

– CAJ News





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