Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Covid-19: Churches face acid test to comply with government's 100 people maximum order

By Molaole Montsho Time of article published Mar 21, 2020

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Rustenburg - Churches appear to be bracing themselves for the acid test on Sunday to comply with government's limitation of 100 people at gatherings in an attempt to stop the spread of novel coronavirus (Covid-19)

The Maranatha Reformed Church of Christ (MRCC) has warned that church services of more than 100 attendees are prohibited. 

"Church services may continue this week. But we need to exercise caution. Congregations with more than 100 attendees should consider breaking services into two sessions or arrange services in wards [cell groups].

"Congregations with fewer members are encouraged to follow guidelines as stipulated in the MRCC document, the department of health documents, pamphlets and websites," said MRCC scribe Mokgethi Masenya said.

"It is not necessary for a total shutdown of church services at the moment. We have guidelines prepared specifically for MRCC members to follow."

Maranatha Reformed Church of Christ Scribe Mokgethi Masenya. Picture: Suppiled

He said members showing symptoms, or who suspected they had symptoms, to self-quarantine. "Members are encouraged to test when they suspect that they have any of the symptoms related to Covid-19."

The church had cancelled the Easter pilgrimage, conferences, and other gatherings until further notice.

The SA Council of Churches recommended there should be a two-week shutdown of church service. A final decision was expected on Tuesday.

The International Pentecost Holiness Church (IPHC) said it had decided to implement a total shutdown of gatherings at the church’s 340 branches and headquarters with effect from March 19 until further notice.

The Mahikeng Ministers Fellowship (MMF) urged church leaders to uphold the permissible maximum 100 people for funerals, weddings, and services, and maintain social distancing regulations.

"The response of the church towards the measures must reflect the maturity, good, and responsible citizenship required to deal with this unprecedented global pandemic," said chairperson pastor Moss Tlalang.

Tlalang appealed to churches to be creative and opt for technology and livestreaming broadcasts of services, as well as raising public awareness and support for preventative measures among congregants.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared Covid-19 a national emergency and prohibited gatherings of more than 100 people. According to the World Health Organisation, as of March 20 there were 234 073 confirmed cases of Covid-19 worldwide with 9840 deaths.

African News Agency/ANA

* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak visit IOL's #Coronavirus trend page.

** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999

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