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Coronavirus: Closing churches and leaving night clubs open is clear bias - Bishops’ Conference to Gov't

By Mutala Yakubu
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The government's directive to have all churches, mosques and places of worship closed has been met with strong opposition.

The Ghana Charismatic Bishops’ Conference says they do not agree with the government for closing churches as part of efforts to fight the deadly coronavirus but left out night clubs, markets and other places where there is human contact.

In a release, they accused the government of being bias and called on them to review their decision.

READ ALSO: All schools closed down March 16 over Covid-19

The Christian body also stated that the government’s decision not to engage them before the decision was taken smacks of disregard for the Church.

Below is the full statement

CESSATION OF CHURCH ACTIVITIES DUE TO CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC (Covid 19)

The Government has issued a number of releases in line with managing the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Ghana Charismatic Bishops’ Conference has noted the travel bans, and the restrictions on a wide range of socio-economic activities in the country in an effort to forestall any further spread of the Coronavirus disease in the country, a part of the wider global effort being championed by the World Health Organization.

We commend the President of the Republic for responding to the public’s need for leadership and direction at such a time of heightened public anxiety and fears. We believe many of the tactics put in place will forestall the further spread of the disease.

The Ghana Charismatic Bishops’ Conference has, however, noted a number of lapses, that as we try to bring this pandemic under control as a society, we will like to draw the Government’s attention to.

It is important that these concerns are addressed for the measures being implemented to have their full measure in preventing the further spread of the Coronavirus pandemic among Ghanaians.

i. The notices from the Government do not mention the closure of night clubs, restaurants, shopping malls, busy offices banks, drinking spots, chop bars, lorry stations and markets.

Such entities have been noted in other country’s experience, France being a good example, where the pandemic has not been controlled as such enterprises have remained opened. To only ask for the closure of churches and places of worship, is a rather biased view of the society and does not improve much the odds of getting the disease under control.

ii. We find it unfortunate that, markets and other like businesses, which are known to have some of the most unsanitary conditions in the country have been missed from the list of public places to be closed.

iii. Places of intense social interactions have been excluded from the bans. Trotros, buses, funeral grounds, football parks, drinking spots, bars, barbering shops, and hair-dressing salons are places of intense social interactions where the disease may spread further without bans. These must be included for the mooted bans to be effective.

iv. We find it unfortunate that important church groupings such as the Ghana Charismatic Bishops’ Conference, National Association of Charismatic & Christian Churches, and Ghana

Pentecostal Council has not been engaged in the making of this announcement. The arbitrary closure of churches and places of worship without consultation or discussion for 4 weeks, smacks of a disregard of the importance of the church’s role in the country. This disregard of the place of this powerful social and religious institution, to which over 70% of Ghanaians belong, is wrong.

v. Churches own and run a significant part of the health infrastructure and hospitals in the nation. As the announcement has gone forth to close down activities of these churches, shall we assume that the health facilities which these churches run are also to close down?

vi. By this communique, we the Ghana Charismatic Bishops’ Conference, are calling on the Government to close all centres of intense social interaction without fear or favor, and not to discriminate by closing down churches, schools and institutions which they deem frivolous or dispensable in the society.

We continue to pray for the nation to be delivered from the plagues and pestilences, and epidemics, and the pandemics, and for God to have mercy on us.