Faizel Patel – 09/09/2020
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has thanked religious leaders for their phenomenal efforts in stopping the spread of COVID-19 in South Africa
Mkhize was speaking to Radio Islam on Wednesday morning about the current status of the pandemic in the country.
Although South Africa has more than 630-thousand confirmed COVID-19 infections, and while the virus has now claimed more than 15-thousand lives, Mkhize says he is optimistic about the slowing rate of the coronavirus
Mkhize says level 2 infections are very encouraging and religious leaders played a major role in slowing the spread of the virus.
“We need to thank all the religious leaders. They have given us the tremendous support in this fight. If we didn’t get this support and the cooperation from the Imams in the mosques and from the churches, the church leaders, from synagogues, the risks from the religious gatherings was huge. But that they were able to contain their numbers in such a way that we’ve seen in the past six months there were no big church gatherings, I think they must be given a huge applause.”
Mkhize says religious leaders were correct in requesting President Cyril Ramaphosa to consider increasing the number of people at religious gatherings during a webinar with the president last week.
He says since the infections has dramatically decreased, the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) will consider phasing in the increase of religious worship when the country moves to level 1 of the lockdown.
“Level 2 numbers are very encouraging and I think its a consideration to put into place. But we really have to put everything together and give a considered response. I think it was fair that they should raise the issues because many other economic activities, social activities are beginning to open and so we need to look at what the best is in terms of containment measures.
Currently under level 2 of the lockdown regulations, only 50 people are allowed to gather at mosques, religious gatherings and even funerals.
Listen to the interview with Dr. Zweli Mkhize on Radio Islam