Government Allows Church Gatherings for Vaccinated Members only
On Wednesday, cabinet allowed churches to conduct in-person services but under strict conditions.
Speaking during a post-cabinet media briefing on Wednesday evening, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa said Cabinet came to a decision that only fully vaccinated are allowed to gather.
“Cabinet wishes to inform the public that churches can now allow sit-in congregants under the following conditions: Only congregants who have received two doses of the vaccine are allowed to attend, all Ministry of Health and Child Care and WHO (World Health Organization) protocols are adhered to and all those found in breach will be arrested, including leaders of the churches,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
Also stated is that the churches will also have to adhere to Ministry of Health and Child Care and World Health Organisation (WHO) measures meant to curb the spread of Covid. All those found violating the regulations will be arrested including the church leaders.
This development comes after six weeks of suspension of any church gathering under the Level 4 lockdown to control a third wave of the pandemic. The level 4 lockdown also suspended inter-city travel, public gatherings and limited business hours among other things.
However, some observers were quick to point this out as a government attempt to force church leaders to encourage their congregants to take the vaccines against their initial hesitations which were fuelled by conspiracy theories.
So far, a total of about 1.9 million have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in Zimbabwe compared to about 1 million who have received their second jab.
Zimbabwean government previously claimed that they aim to vaccine 10 million of the approximately 14 million people by year-end to achieve herd immunity. This translates to about 70% of the population. However this might change since the delta variant has pushed the herd immunity threshold to way above 80%.
In Zimbabwe, Covid-19 has killed a total of about 3,950 out of at least 117,258 people who it since its discovery.