“Churches allowed to congregate,” says government

CHURCHES are allowed to congregate for as long as they adhere to the Covid-19 specified regulations, the government has clarified.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa who was speaking in Chinhoyi Sunday during an inter-ministerial taskforce on Covid-19, which was attended by provincial Government heads, Members of Parliament and church leaders, said the recent enforcements aimed at thwarting the spike of the novel coronavirus by President Mnangagwa still allowed citizens to congregate at their respective places of worship.
“The recent lockdown restrictions issued by the President seek to arrest the spread of the virus through a raft of measures among them, restricting gatherings,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
“Only gatherings that exceed 50 have remained banned and the Government has not reviewed the figure up or down.
“People are allowed to congregate for as long as they observe the stipulated figure, sanitising, social distancing, temperature checking and members wearing masks.”
Most church-goers in Chinhoyi town yesterday told The Herald that they received communication from their leaders that church services were suspended following a directive issued by the police.
Minister Mutsvangwa said yesterday’s meeting was aimed at checking the response and identifying gaps for corrective action in fighting Covid-19.

She said although the figures were rising daily, the Government, through the leadership of President Mnangagwa, had and was still doing all things necessary to address the upsurge in positive cases.
“What the Government did through President Mnangagwa was to first quickly pronounce it a national disaster and put together an inter-ministerial taskforce to make sure that we up our game in terms of response to this disease,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
“The disease has ravaged people across the world and there is nothing that the Government has done wrong in addressing the challenge and the interventions put in place to contain the disease.
“Zimbabwe has had low figures for quite a number of months, but because the President couldn’t close the border on returning residents, we continued to receive returnees from many countries who contributed to the spike of the disease.
“Nonetheless, Government introduced quarantine and isolation centres for screening purposes to curb the spread of the virus.”
Minister Mutsvangwa singled out challenges of escapees from quarantine centres and returning residents skipping the border to avert mandatory quarantine procedure as flaring the figures.

Minister Mutsvangwa underscored the need for provincial taskforce teams to escort returnees switching quarantine centres following concerns raised that some of the returnees would further spread the disease as they passed through various towns and purchase food and access ablution services.
In her remarks, Mashonaland West Minister of State, Mary Mliswa-Chikoka said the Chinengundu and Mzari isolation centres were now ready to admit Covid-19 patients, while Chinhoyi provincial isolation centre was at 50 percent to completion owing much to procurement challenges.
She lauded private players for rising to the occasion in assisting Government in the fight against Covid-19.