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In Revised Guidelines, Bishop in South Africa Urges Adherence to COVID-19 Protocols

Bishop Peter Holiday of South Africa's Kroonstad Diocese. Credit: Kroonstad Diocese

In revised guidelines following the relax restrictions on public worship in South Africa, a Catholic Bishop in the country has urged the faithful to strictly adhere to COVID-19 preventive measures.

In a televised address Sunday, July 25, President Cyril Ramaphosa said several of South Africa’s lockdown regulations will be relaxed as the country moves to an adjusted level 3 lockdown with immediate effect.

President Ramaphosa permitted gatherings including religious services, political and social events, limiting the number of those coming together to a maximum of 50 people when indoors and 100 people outdoors.

“We welcome President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement to move South Africa to Adjusted Level 3. This is good news for us as a Catholic/Christian Community so that we can gather in our Churches to praise God,” Bishop Peter John Holiday says in the statement issued Tuesday, July 27.

Bishop Holiday adds, “The Adjusted Level 3 comes with the keeping of protocols and restrictions. What this means is that we keep to wearing masks, sanitizing and social distancing.”

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“As we open our Parish churches, we have to keep the numbers to 50 inside the church. There can be 100 people outside. For funerals only 50,” the Local Ordinary of South Africa’s Kroonstad Diocese directs.

South Africa has been battling the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic caused by a new mutation of the disease identified as the 501.V2 variant. The new strain led to a spike in infections, which saw the country cross the two million mark of reported cases of the pandemic.

The country has recorded at least 2.39 million COVID-19 cases, 2.18 million recoveries and 70,388 deaths.

In his July 27 message, Bishop Holiday notes that as the “schools open, catechism should begin again. The Sodalities and other groups in the Diocese can meet with keeping all the protocols and restrictions.”

“I ask the Priests and Parish Pastoral Councils to manage the Parish Community as to how people will be able to come to Sunday Mass as you did before,” Bishop Holiday directs.

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He adds, “Let us, as a Diocese, be patient in working with the Priests and Parish Pastoral Councils as we move forward slowly with the hope that soon life in society will return to some form of normality. “

“Let us continue to pray for God’s healing in the world and country,” the South African Bishop says in his July 27 message.