Religious Leaders in Mauritius Urge Government to Revise Public Worship Restrictions

Some members of the Council of Religions in Mauritius . Credit: Catholic Diocese of Port Louis/Facebook

Members of the Council of Religions in Mauritius are calling on the country’s government to revise upwards the number of worshippers who can take part in public celebrations at a go.

Last week, Mauritius’ Prime Minister, Pravind Jugnauth, announced new COVID-19 health restrictions among them, the limit of worshippers to a maximum of 10.  

In a Tuesday, November 16 statement, the religious leaders explain that their goal is not to challenge the government but to  reach a consensus on how to manage the rising cases of the coronavirus in the India Ocean Island nation.

They suggest that the Mauritian government considers allowing 50 people to attend a Religious gathering at a go, assuring the government that COVID-19 safety guidelines will be upheld.

“Our wish would be that religious gatherings such as prayers at the temple, at the mosque, Masses and worship services be authorized for a maximum of 50 people and that these places be well ventilated and aired, and that meetings be organized in the strict application of sanitary rules,” the faith-based leaders say in a statement obtained by ACI Africa.


In shrines and other similar places, they proposed that the maximum number of worshippers be ten people.

It is important that the government reviews the guidelines on worship because "people are looking for hope, consolation and comfort in the sacred and spiritual places," religious leaders in Mauritius say.

In a November 12 announcement, Prime Minister Jugnauth also directed that weddings and funerals be attended by a maximum of 50 people. 

Schools have also been closed in the Indian Ocean Island nation that has recorded 18,979 cases of the pandemic including 240 deaths and 1,854 recoveries. 

In their statement, members of the Council of Religions in Mauritius say they support the government's efforts to minimize the spread of COVID-19. 

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They however urged the government to consult with Mauritanians before issuing directives to manage the spread of the coronavirus. 

"While stressing that a government must govern, the Council wishes to recall that governing through dialogue remains the preferred formula of Mauritanians," faith-based leaders in Mauritius say, and add, "Decrees should not be made on the basis of confrontation." 

In their collective statement, the religious leaders also call for unity similar to that which was portrayed among Mauritians in the early days of the pandemic. 

“These days, suffering and hope exist side by side in our daily lives. It is more than desirable that we leave our egos behind and allow ourselves to be invaded by compassion, understanding and conciliation to fight the invisible enemy,” they say, adding that the people embraced the virtue of solidarity when the disease was first reported in the country.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.