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Church gatherings under spotlight

By JACKSON MAPAPAYI
SOLWEZI Municipal Council has boosted the fight against the spread of Covid-19 following a go ahead given to places of worship to decide whether to start gathering.
On Sunday, Council Director of Public Health, Stanley Mbewe, led a team of public health inspectors in monitoring compliance in places of Worship following the Head of State’s decision that some activities may resume subject to adhering to Public Health regulations, guidelines and certifications.
The public health inspectors who split in two groups monitored churches in various places that included Weighbridge, Mushitala, Stadium, College area, Zambia, Kazomba, Kyawama, Messenger and Kandemba compounds.
During the monitoring exercise, some congregants were visibly nervous and opted to leave the church one by one after seeing the arrival of public health inspectors.
However, they were made to understand that inspectors had not visited to condemn anyone or disrupt worship, but educate them on the need to make sure public health standards were observed.
However Mr Mbewe and his team took time to converse with the Church leaders and congregants advising them to wear face masks, observe social distancing and wash hands regularly as preventive measures against the spread of the pandemic.
“We all need God in times like this, but what is important is that we need to observe the measures that have been put in place if we are to defeat the pandemic,” he said.
Mr Mbewe advised Church leaders to ensure that at every worship service, there must be adequate ventilation, social distancing and that congregants must wear masks.
“We are also requesting that you take down the details of congregants for contact tracing purposes in an event that one is find positive,” he said
He further advised them to obtain a permit from the local authority every week, authorising them to congregate each Sunday.
However, during the inspection, it was discovered that Traditional churches such as the United Church of Zambia (UCZ), Catholic, the Seventh Day Adventist and Evangelical Church were closed.
A few Pentecostal churches were open with few congregants in attendance.

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