The Diocese of Karonga in the Catholic Church has ordered mandatory wearing of face masks during church services following the rapid increase in Covid-19 cases in the country in recent weeks.
In a statement issued on Saturday by the diocesan pastoral coordinator the Reverend Father Joseph Sikwese, the diocese said it had decided to intensify measures to prevent the spread of the virus in its church meetings and liturgical celebrations.
Reads part of the statement: “I write to inform you that after consultations with the directors of health and social services for Chitipa and Karonga districts on the current situation of the Covid-19 pandemic, which is getting worse within the jurisdiction of the diocese, and receiving advice from the Advisory Committee to the Bishop on Covid-19 and meeting the Diocesan Council of Priests on July 2 2020, the Bishop Martin Mtumbuka, has directed that with immediate effect no one should attend church gatherings without wearing a face mask.”
In an interview, a church member at St. Michael’s Parish in Chitipa, Grace Sinyangwe, commended the bishop for the directive.
Karonga district director of health and social services David Sibale also commended the diocese for its stand on coronavirus.
“We are closely working with various stakeholders such as traditional and church leaders and civil society organisations to reach out to people in the district on how best they can prevent the spread of the virus,” he said.
Sibale also said they have intensified the screening exercise to all visitors and guardians in hospitals.
“We have pitched tents outside the district hospital to decongest our wards and other service delivery points,” he said.
Karonga has registered 16 Covid-19 cases with one death while Chitipa has 37 cases.