South African bishop makes COVID plea as infections rise in the Eastern Cape

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It is with grave concern that we learn about the surge of Coronavirus cases in the Garden Route and elsewhere in our Province. It is of more serious concern that no precautionary measures are in place to help curb the surge.

Recently, on 11 November, we had by-elections in George and Knysna, and now they are under way in Oudtshoorn (9 December 2020). We are at the start of the holiday season, our airports are getting busier, and the movement of people towards the Garden Route is increasing significantly.

Understandably, citizens are fatigued by measures and protocols. The economy is suffering, people are losing jobs and everyone is longing for a reprieve. But it is no use for the authorities to advise us constantly of the dangers of the virus and that our health system is under serious pressure, and then only to advise us to be careful.

A hard lockdown will cause further suffering but other steps short of that could help. Yet nothing has been done about curbing the movement of people through an extended curfew. Nothing has been done to manage the sale of alcohol, and nothing to limit the number of people at mass gatherings, including religious gatherings etc.

We are now left to manage ourselves without a concerted indication that government (provincial and national) is prepared to guide the conduct and behaviour of our citizens.

Citizens must please behave responsibly. We call on you and commit ourselves to manage our traveling carefully. If we don’t have to travel, let us stay at home. If we have to cancel holiday arrangements, it will be worth it to protect our loved ones, our fellow citizens and ourselves.

Please be safe, this pandemic too will come to an end. We continue to pray for those who are afflicted by this virus. We share our deepest sympathy with those who have buried their loved ones. God will take care of us, God is a caring, loving, healing God. God will meet us in our places of sanctity and in our homes. We will not cease our prayers for the healing of our nation and the world.

The Right Revd Brian MarajhBishop of George