Malawi reverses church ban: Worshippers asked to take extra caution to prevent Covid-19 spread

The decision by Special Cabinet Committee on coronavirus (Covid-19) to impose a ban against church gatherings has been reversed by government, Malawi Council of Churches (MCC) has said.

Fr Saindi: Church gatherings, communal liturgical celebrations including liturgies of the Holy Week must adhere to Presidential directives, ECM guidelines and the  Decree from the Holy See

Minister of Health Jappie Mhango, who chairs the Special Cabinet Committee on Covid-19, prescribed during a news conference on Tuesday that church gatherings be suspended as a measure to prevent the spread of the killer virus in the country.

But in a statement MCC general secretary Gilford Matonga said churches will still congregate in line with guidelines on physical distance.

Matonga said MCC government has “clarified” its position and said that “Christians should continue to meet as earlier announced.”

He said MCC sought clarification from Presidential advisor of religious affairs, Apostle Timothy Khoviwa, and that churches will continue gathering in the meantime.

The Episcopal Conference of Malawi, the umbrella body of the Catholic Bishops in Malawi, has also advised Catholic faithful to continue gatherings for prayers but should not exceed 100 congregants at a time.

“Therefore, church gatherings, communal liturgical celebrations including liturgies of the Holy Week must adhere to Presidential directives, ECM guidelines and the  Decree from the Holy See in order to prevent the speed of the coronavirus,” ECM said in a statement made available to Nyasa Times and signed by its secretary general Reverend Father Henry Saindi.

The church has however said it has put in place measures to curb possible transmission among faithful.

Saindi said strict action will be taken to ensure personal hygiene is not compromised.

The church also banned handshakes instead recommending waving to contain transmission of Covid-19.

Malawi announced its first coronavirus death on Tuesday as well as three additional cases, bringing the tally of infections to eight in one of the last countries in Africa to report the disease.

President Peter Mutharika declared a state of emergency on March 23 to combat the virus, closing schools until further notice.

He has since announced recruitment by the health ministry of 2,000 extra staff.

Over the weekend, Mutharika said he would cut his own salary and the wages of his ministers to help fund the fight against coronavirus.

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kaukonde
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kaukonde

Malawians want to be more christian than the people who brought christianity. Churches in England have closed yet Malawians are resisting because christianity is the highest money earning activity where people use the name of God to earn money. They claim all belongs to God and that God only needs a 10 percent.

concerned citizen
Guest
concerned citizen

CONFLICTING DECISIONS FROM OUR GOVERNMENT . If you allow people to gather in churches hiding under the guise that hey will be practicing social distancing yet they will be in a place that air circulation will not be 100 percent good , then the risk will still be very high of transmission of the virus. Recent studies have shown that if one coughs or sneezes in an enclosed space, micro droplets stay in the air for 45 minutes. If one hundred people are going to be in the church for two hours and one person is coughing how much risk… Read more »

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Wow! This government is really stupid

Eboue
Guest
Eboue

If I am right, the worse affected people and most death in South Korea was from one church group or sect which ignored the orders and continued to meet. 75% of them are no more. Even the preacher apologised to the whole nation. Malawians, why are we clueless, even the educated. I am not stepping in any church.

odxy pie
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odxy pie

asatana inu zikanganani

Kambewa Chisale
Guest

My fellow Malawians
This is a crazy decision by APM. You can still pray in your own home with your family. Peter why do you want to to deceive people and put their lives at risk.

My advice is that Peter should also be going to Church every week and see what will happen

Yes
Guest
Yes

You are against church gathering because you are agents of darkness, any person who believes in God, will understand that when you are in trouble you always call on the name of God. *[[Mat 18:20/UKJV]]* For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. This virus is demonic, and you need the church to save you not staying at home, see where there staying at home like America and other countries what has changed? Only China because they know what there doing, a Malawi, solution is with God. Haven’t you… Read more »

Ikbal osman
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Ikbal osman

Throughout most of the world all the mosques churches and other prayer places have been closed temporarily. Here in Malawi all the mosques have been closed as well and Muslims are encouraged to pray at home. Maybe apostle Timothy knows better. All you need is one person in the church who has contracted Covid 19 and he can cause havoc.

Limma
Guest
Limma

This just shows that the Government doesn’t have enough understanding of this disease. I am really mortified at the stupidity on display here. How can the whole government decide to risk the lives of its citizens like this? It’s either they don’t care or they are ignorant. Am so revered. Idiotic public display. And the opposition where are you? So called Human Rihhts Defenders..where are you?

James Banda
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James Banda

What justification is there to allow church gatherings but not other gatherings. If the church gathering is allowed on the condition that they should practice social distance then the same should apply to other gatherings

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