COVID-19: Catholic Churches May Close Again, Says Archbishop

South Sudan’s Catholic churches may be closed again if the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases increase, a bishop has said.

The Archbishop of Juba, Stephen Ameyu Martin, noted that keeping churches opened with increasing new cases of the virus is “just donating life to pandemic.”

“If the pandemic increases again we may close our churches because our intention of coming to pray is that God gives us longer life.

“But if we pray and we are infected more – that is not keeping life, that is just donating life to pandemic. As Catholics we must take care of life,” he told worshippers during mass on Sunday.

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Catholic churches across the country re-opened on Sunday for the first time in six months, but under strict safety measures.

President Salva Kiir and senior government officials were among worshippers who attended mass in Juba, the capital.

The archbishop said they had waited for permission from the Vatican before resuming mass.

Mosques and other Christian churches re-opened two weeks ago after the government taskforce on Covid-19 lifted restrictions.

Meanwhile, South Sudan at the weekend ordered all schools to reopen across the country after nearly six months of closure.

Information Minister, Michael Makuei Lueth, said the decision was made in a cabinet meeting on Friday following a presentation by Health Minister Elizabeth Achuei that indicated a significant decline in COVID-19 cases and infections.

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He said primary and secondary schools, as well as universities would be reopened.

In her report, Achuei said the number of coronavirus cases had fallen in the country in recent weeks.

As of Friday, South Sudan had a total of 2,578 cases, including 49 deaths and 1,438 recoveries.

“The cabinet has decided that all the higher institutes of learning and schools should resume and should be open,” Lueth said.

He added that the exact date of the reopening would be determined by the ministries of higher education and general education.

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