Coronavirus empties churches, believers grapple with global pandemic

As the world continues to be under siege with the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19), some religious organisations in Malawi have lamented on the possible eventualities on the disease as Malawi is yet to register a case.

A near-empty church

Area 25 Assemblies of God church member, Austin Chimenya, said the news about coronavirus has affected the church as it has caused fear among the believers.

“Church is where people interact with love but currently this is not the case due to the fear that has risen among believers because of news of COVID-19,” he said.

However, Chimenya said some churches are conducting awareness programmes in a bid to encourage its congregants to follow preventive measures like hand washing with soap.

He said places of worship attract huge gatherings hence the need to follow preventive measures in order to avoid spread of the disease.

In a separate interview, Pastor James Chikwenga of the Flames of Fire International Church said they have put in place hygienic measures that emphasise on cleanliness including hand washing with soap and neatness of the wash rooms among others.

A press release by Living Waters Church International signed by its Secretary Dr. Diston Store Chiweza, the church is encouraging all its members to stick to the set hygiene guidelines as advanced by medical experts.

“The church understands that the surge of new infections is correspondent to increased social groupings, bodily contacts and crowding.

“Therefore it is advisable that all churches should desist from practices that catalyst to the spread of the disease. The church will continue to give all churches detailed updates that will be informed by the Ministry of Health,” reads the statement in part.

The church is, therefore, appealing to all its members and the clergy to continue praying for divine intervention in order to save the people from the pandemic.

The church is also encouraging its members and the clergy not to be oppressed by unnecessary fear and anxiety but to believe and maintain their faith in the Lord.

So far coronavirus, which was declared a a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has registered cases in some of the African countries such as Tanzania, Zambia, Egypt, Nigeria Zimbabwe, and South Africa.

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