Worshipers “to be fully vaccinated” as Church Attendance Resumes in Zimbabwe: Bishop

Corpus Christi Cathedral in Zimbabwe's Chinhoyi Diocese. Credit: Chinhoyi Diocese/Facebook

Those to participate in public worship will have received COVID-19 vaccination, the Bishop of Zimbabwe’s Chinhoyi Diocese has announced amid the easing of coronavirus restrictions in the Southern African nation.

In a move that follows the August 11 Zimbabwean government directive that only fully-vaccinated people attend public worship, Bishop Raymond Tapiwa Mupandasekwa underscores the need to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We have received an invitation from the Government of Zimbabwe to reopen our Churches and begin to gather again for Church services yet on condition that the attendants be fully vaccinated,” Bishop Mupandasekwa says in a statement issued Tuesday, August 17.

The Zimbabwean Bishop adds, “Only fully vaccinated priests will be allowed to celebrate (Holy) Mass with congregants.”

On August 9, President Emmerson Mnangagwa extended the six-week lockdown by another two weeks, saying that despite a decline in cases, deaths remain high.


According to statistics from the Ministry of Health, a total of 1.9 million people have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in Zimbabwe, while more than 1 million have received their second jab.

The Southern African nation aims to inoculate 10 million of its approximately 14 million people by the end of the year. As of August 17, the country had recorded at least 120,532 COVID-19 cases, including 4,138 deaths and 98,551 recoveries.

In his August 17 statement, Bishop Mupandasekwa notes that since the government of Zimbabwe has conditionally allowed religious gatherings, “it's up to us to ensure that the WHO protocols are strictly followed. Failure to do so puts the lives of others at risk.”

“Over and above that the WHO protocols must continue to be observed namely masking, sanitizing our hands and social distancing,” the Local Ordinary of Chinhoyi Diocese adds.

Bishop Mupandasekwa expresses the hope that the government will “give more guidance” on other specifics in view of preventing spread of COVID-19 in the Southern African nation, and adds, “For now let's follow the instructions with no exceptions.”

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Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.