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JUBA - 7 Feb 2021

SSCC urges relaxation of Covid-19 measures on church services

The South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC) yesterday called on the National Taskforce on Covid-19 to relax some of the preventive measures reintroduced last week after a surge in coronavirus cases in the country.

On Wednesday, the South Sudan National Taskforce on Covid-19 announced a ban on all sporting, religious and political events including, Sunday services, Friday prayers for Moslems, funerals, and wedding ceremonies.

But in a statement on Saturday, the South Sudan Council of Churches, an ecumenical body comprised of several mainstream churches in South Sudan, noted that although they acknowledge and commend the task force for working to reduce the spread of the virus which is on the rise, they appeal for a continuation of church services at half capacity.

“Banning of Sunday church services seems to be rather harsh for the church institutions and we appeal that such restrictions be relaxed for the activities of the churches to operate at half of the normal capacity while adhering to the standard operating procedures and protocols announced by the National Taskforce on Covid-19 i.e., compulsory wearing of facemasks, social distancing a, no shaking of hands and sanitizing and regular washing of hands,” reads the statement in part.

They also urged the general public and their congregants to strictly observe the safety measures.

The taskforce also directed security agencies to ensure strict enforcement of the measures. 

“We advise the National Taskforce on Covid-19 to conduct a scientific mapping to ascertain the areas affected by the surge of the virus in the country. This will help the task force to effectively address and impose the targeted restrictions,” SSCC continued.

The statement was signed by the leaders of the South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church, Episcopal Church of South Sudan, Catholic Church, Presbyterian Church of South Sudan and Sudan, and the Sudan Pentecostal Church.