Africa-Press – Zimbabwe. National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said churches should comply with the Cabinet directive that bars unvaccinated individuals from attending in-person church services.
Speaking with The Sunday Mail in an interview, Nyathi said the police will strictly enforce the directive. He said:
Churches are implored to strictly comply with the vaccination directive for congregants as stipulated by Cabinet last week. The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) will assist health officials to ensure compliance and arrest anyone defying the safety protocols. Police will also take action against those who might try to take advantage of the directive and produce fake vaccination certificates.
Some church leaders said it was difficult to turn unvaccinated congregants home considering that vaccination is restricted.
The Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHCD) said a large portion of the population was yet to be vaccinated because they were yet to get a chance to.
Others said they will comply with the directive adding that they will conduct awareness campaigns on the importance of vaccines.
Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) leader Archbishop Johannes Ndanga said the decision to resume in-person church service was welcome. He said:
I implore all apostolic sects to get vaccinated and follow all regulations, vaccines have been there since time immemorial and we believe they work. We encourage all leaders under ACCZ to make sure that only the fully vaccinated members attend in-person church services and those not yet vaccinated should not expose others and themselves to Covid-19.
Leader of the Inter-Religious Association for Peace and Development Zimbabwe Bishop Albert Chikuni, whose organisation seeks to unite religions to achieve sustainable development, said vaccines were the best weapon to fight Covid-19.
The Methodist Church in Zimbabwe said they appreciated the announcements by Cabinet and would officially open their churches on August 20, after fumigation and procurement of personal protective equipment.
Covid-19 response chief coordinator Dr Agnes Mahomva said the Government would ensure strict enforcement of regulations as churches conduct their services.
More: The Sunday Mail