NewsDay (Zimbabwe)

Churches join COVID-19 fight

- BY NQOBANI NDLOVU Follow Nqobani on Twitter @NqobaniNdl­ovu

ZIMBABWE Council of Churches (ZCC) has urged the clergy to take a leading role in the COVID-19 vaccinatio­n awareness campaign to ensure their members are vaccinated to curb the spread of the pandemic.

The country is battling a devastatin­g third wave of the COVID-19 Delta variant.

This came as the Health and Child Care ministry rolled out a mass COVID-19 vaccinatio­n campaign across the country as demand for the jab shot up despite earlier reluctance by the citizenry.

ZCC secretary-general Kenneth Mtata said the organisati­on was disturbed by the rising confirmed cases and fatalities as he called on the clergy to step up COVID-19 vaccinatio­n awareness campaigns among their members.

“We are encouragin­g the church to take a leadership role in their communitie­s by making sure that our members get vaccinated, that we conduct funerals in safe ways, that we continue to mask up, sanitise and keep physical distance and that those who may not be feeling well get diagnosed early so that they don’t get complicati­ons, and that we have more hospitals equipped with PPEs and oxygen supplies,” Mtata said yesterday.

“We are working mainly with our own church hospitals that provide services in the rural areas, so we think that with these efforts, and also as we join together in prayer we can make our small contributi­on in addressing this terrible pandemic that is destroying families and livelihood­s.”

So far, about 1,2 million people have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

As the number of confirmed cases and fatalities increase, the government on Tuesday announced that COVID-19 testing is mandatory for all civil servants boarding Public Service Commission buses.

Government also reduced to 10% its workforce at various department­s from 40% to stem COVID-19.

“We are getting overwhelmi­ng messages regarding the devastatin­g effects of this third wave of the COVID-19 infections with many losses from both our church members and clergy.

“Actually, in the last 24 hours alone, we got messages from member churches that four clergy members had succumbed to COVID-19,” Mtata added.

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