Local churches join COVID-19 fight


. . . practices, sacramental suspended


MASERU – The Christian Council of Lesotho has appealed for education and caution as COVID-19 continues to ravage the world and threatens countries in which no cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed yet.

COVID-19 was first reported at Wuhan, China on December 31, 2019, and was March 11 declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) having spread throughout the globe – with 220 199 confirmed cases and 8 982 fatalities so far.

The Christian organisation this week aligned themselves with precautionary positions from around the world, the guidelines of the Lesotho health ministry, and in particular the World Health Organisation (WHO) – in efforts to curb the spread of the outbreak that has claimed thousands of lives around the world.

CCL further shared with the Christian population and the general public basic guidelines to enable congregations and other community groupings useful and relevant information to put to use in everyday life and activities.

“As the CCL we take situations like this as the time that God’s people need to stand united and to communicate with the Creator with all the faith that we have until He shows mercy on us,” a CCL statement said.

The organisation further reminded the Basotho that the work of the church is to propagate hope, to sympathise with those that have lost hope and to uplift those who are in sorrow, highlighting that “this too shall pass and salvation emerge, a vaccine for this pandemic will be found.”

Without encroaching into practices of member churches, the CCL further urged for co-operation and adherence to official protective and safety measures announced in order to ensure the prevention of the spread of this pandemic and to put it under control.

Along the same lines, the Lesotho Catholic Bishops’ Conference (LCBC) also exhorted the Catholic faithful and similarly sent a word of caution to the general public on COVID-19 and measures to prevent the spread of infection.

“We as the Lesotho Catholic Bishops’ Conference are greatly perturbed by the reported state of this pandemic, which has struck many people of the world, including our only neighbour South Africa,” an LCBC statement this week said.

“We have learned of large escalating numbers of victims of this dreaded disease, with the death toll daily rising and more people testing positive. Lesotho is also affected despite there not being a confirmed case,” it continued.

“We believe you have seen on televisions and all media houses that Italy, among others, is one of the countries mostly affected with the largest number after the epicentre China.

“And we must be reminded that Italy is where the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church is and the Holy Father is resident in the Vatican City. This means we are affected as well, so we urge you to keep the Pope in our prayers.”

The LCBC called on all people to take cognisance of guidelines issued by the WHO, as well as national authorities on the prevention of the spread of the disease, announcing the Church hierarchy was also joining in the fight against COVID-19.

The Catholic Bishops added: “While we embrace means to protect ourselves against COVID-19, let us remember that our faith is bigger than anything and the sole reason it will help us overcome the pandemic.”

Meanwhile, congregants at the Maseru United Church were also this week beneficiaries of an in-depth COVID-19 awareness campaign aimed at sensitizing the public on the necessary action steps to avert infection and the spread of the deadly disease by expert doctors.

Coronavirus (CoVid-19) is a respiratory illness that causes flu-like symptoms whose typical symptoms include fever and a cough that may progress to pneumonia, causing breathing difficulties, including shortness of breath.

Most people who get it will contract a mild to moderate illness, a bit like flu.

Generally, it causes more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer or chronic lung disease.

And the LCBC appealed to the general populace to avoid physical contact, wash hands regularly using running water and soap and sanitizers, avoid touching the face – in particular the eyes, mouth and nose, normalise drinking water and eating food products that build the immune system regularly.

People have further been asked to avoid public gatherings, the use of the bénitier (Holy Water font at the entrance of the Church) and to employ safe procedures during baptismal and wedding ceremonies.

Receipt of Holy Communion in the mouth, dispensation of other Church sacraments that include Holy Orders, anointing of the sick, Church retreats and conferences have been suspended.

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