Malawi: Church Gatherings to Increase From 10 to 100 People

church bells
13 August 2020

The government has bowed down to pressure from faith groups and other members of the public who have been opposing the newly gazetted Covid-19 guidelines which allows religious gatherings as well as places of worship to increase from 10 to 100 people.

Minister of Health Khumbize Chiponda has announced the reversing of guidelines of public gathering that she announced a few days ago.

A maximum of 100 people will be allowed in places of worship.

She added that government will also be opening airports in the first week of September.

Addressing the media, Chiponda said the Tonse Alliance government is a listening government hence, it has decided to review the guidelines.

Chiponda along with other members of the Presidential taskforce on Covid-19 says they have consulted with faith groups and other stakeholders.

Minister of Information Gospel Kazako says the Tonse Alliance government is open to criticism hence it has reviewed the public health guidelines.

Kazako said the new government is different from DPP government which was rigid and threatened people whenever there was resistance on some of the measures that government was putting in place.

He said the u-turn on size of public gatherings from 10 to 100 is not a sign of weakness but commitment to listen to people and ensure that everyone is part and parcel of the the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, he says faith groups and other stakeholders have to adhere to the preventive measures failure which the number of people for public gathering will be reduced again.

Prophetic Ministries Association of Malawi (Promam) led by prophets David Mbewe and Justice Hara, bemoaned the lack of consultations in the new preventive measures.

"Churches might meet in tens or might not meet at all, but so long as all these other places continue to gather without observing any of the measures, our efforts are nothing but a joke," it reads in part.

On Monday, the Catholic Church's Episcopal Conference of Malawi also expressed disappointment on the lack of consultation, but encouraged their followers to strictly adhere to the health guidelines.

Among the new rules, individuals are supposed to wear masks in all public areas, failing which, they will be fined K10 000; public gatherings are limited to 10, or face a K100 000 fine and three months imprisonment.

Cumulatively, Malawi had recorded 4 752 cases by Wednesday and 152 deaths.

More From: Nyasa Times

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