Issued by the office of the SACC General Secretary, Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana.
The South African Council of Churches (SACC) calls for calm, and for society not to panic over the current single confirmed case of the coronavirus (a.k.a COVID-19) in South Africa, that was announced yesterday by the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize.
Although there has only been one person testing positive so far, we have to be realistic and accept that this being a global phenomenon, it may come to our shores in dribs and drabs. In the main, it has affected people that travel the world, therefore mainly the middle classes, who are more likely to contain it more readily because of their better access to health systems.
Our concern as churches is more about what will happen when it spreads to poor communities in the townships and rural areas, where water and sanitation remain a big problem. In these communities a cough and a fever is common place because of the fragility of life, and it may be late by the time people come to realise that they have the effects of coronavirus.
In this regard the SACC is convening an emergency consultation of leaders of churches on the 31 March 2020, to consider how best to use the wall-to-wall church infrastructure we have, for public education and liaison with the health system. The consultation meeting will also consider to what extent some of the worship practices may need to be reviewed in the light of the possible virus spread. For this we shall have the benefit of experts and officials from the Department of Health.
We appeal to society to approach this concern with calm and vigilance.
For resources and more info on #Coronavirus #COVID-19:CORONA VIRUS OUTBREAK 24-HOUR HOTLINE NUMBER: 08 000 29999Department of Health: http://www.health.gov.za/index.php/outbreaks/145-corona-virus-outbreak/465-corona-virus-outbreakNational Institute for Communicable Diseases ‘Top tips for preventing the coronavirus’: http://www.nicd.ac.za/top-tips-for-preventing-the-coronavirus/