Pretoria - President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on religious leaders to help drive the message of the need to stop and contain the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.
The president on Thursday morning held a meeting with various religious leaders at the Sefako Makgatho Guest House in Tshwane. They were set to discuss how religious leaders could help the government in curbing the spread of the virus.
The novel coronavirus has gripped the country with the number of infected cases now at 116 as of Wednesday.
Ramaphosa declared a national disaster on Sunday and Wednesday the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma gazetted new regulations which will be used to deal with the Coronavirus and those who may refuse testing or treatment.
The president said the role of the religious organisation could not be understated and that these institutions need to help fight the spread of Covid-19.
He praised churches that had announced various measures which would be in line with regulations announced by the government. The Zion Christian Church (ZCC) announced that all its events related to its annual pilgrimage to Moria in Limpopo had been cancelled.
The Methodist Church had also announced the cancellation of Easter events and the Muslim organisations had announced the cancellation of Friday prayers.
Ramaphosa said these measures should be commended.
He said no organisation would be immune to the rule of 100 people per gathering and that religious leaders were encouraged to inform their congregants that plan on hosting funerals and weddings.
"As the government, we are working with speed to return the country to normality. We thank you as faith-based leaders for your cooperation and stopping the spread of the coronavirus," he said.
Ramaphosa said those that had been subjected to quarantine measures should be welcomed back into their communities once they are cleared to end the stigma that may be associated with the virus.
This meeting with faith-based leaders followed Ramaphosa's meeting with political party leaders in Parliament on Wednesday.
The EFF, DA and ACDP among others, said they would support the government's efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19.
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