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SA COVID-19: Health Minister Mkhize cautions public to remain vigilant during Easter holidays

Zweli Mkhize

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize called on everyone in the country to be vigilant over the Easter holidays as many fear the period may usher in South Africa’s third COVID-19 wave.

“We do not want to celebrate Easter with our friends and family only to bury them the following week,” he said.

The minister said South Africans should use the break to celebrate our hard-won victories in the fight against COVID-19, while protecting themselves and our loved ones from infection.

“If the coronavirus has taught us anything, it is that we are a resilient and compassionate nation that is prepared to do what it takes to save lives and livelihoods.”

So far, 52,897 have people died in the country after contracting the virus, while the known caseload since the start of the outbreak stands at 1.54 million.

On the vaccine front, 269,000 have gotten the jab so far.

Meanwhile, ,some religious leaders called on government to allow institutions with larger venues to host more congregants to gather this Easter than what is currently permitted under the adjusted regulations of lockdown level 1.

Religious institutions are only allowed to host a maximum of 250 people for indoor gatherings and 500 for outdoor services – with adherence to social distancing measures.

Bishop Nkosinathi Zondi from the True Vine Community Church said some churches own buildings that can accommodate more people than is currently allowed while still observing safety protocols.

“Some of the churches have venues that can take about 5,000 to 8,000 members. A church like that can easily have a service of 1,000 people and still be safe.”

Bishop Nkosinathi Miyaka from the Evangelical Lutheran Church said an increase in members being allowed for physical gatherings would assist religious institutions financially.

Miyaka has emphasized that this could be organized under strict regulations to ensure safety at all times.

-EWN

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