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“Our priority is to help, comfort the vulnerable”: Mauritian Cleric amid COVID-19 Surge

The Vicar General of Mauritius’ Port Louis Diocese, Fr. Jean Maurice Labour. Credit: Port Louis Diocese

A Catholic Cleric ministering in Mauritius is urging the people of God in the Indian Ocean Island nation to prioritize helping, comforting, and accompanying the vulnerable in society amid a reported surge in COVID-19 cases.

On November 12, the government of Mauritius announced a series of restrictions following an upsurge in COVID-19 cases despite a high vaccination rate, France 24 reported.

In a statement issued November 20, the Vicar General of Mauritius’ Port Louis Diocese, Fr. Jean Maurice Labour, says the situation is “critical” and requires that Mauritians take the new measures seriously.

“Our country has been hit hard by the Coronavirus and the population is worried and feels threatened,” Fr. Labour says in the statement obtained by ACI Africa.

In this particular situation, the Cleric says, “Our absolute priority remains to help, accompany and comfort the vulnerable.”

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“COVID-19 exposes the fragility of the poor. Let us have a thought, a prayer and above all a gesture for those who know the distress of isolation, those who do not have the means to buy medicines, those who are in precariousness because of the loss of a job,” he adds. 

In a televised address to the nation on November 18, Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth announced new COVID-19 restrictions, and attributed the increase in infections to people who were not abiding by health protocols.

“The state alone will not be able to contain the spread of COVID-19,” the Mauritian Prime Minister observed. 

Among the restrictions announced include a limit in the numbers of people attending Church gatherings, weddings, funerals and rallies in person.

The Indian Ocean Island nation has recorded at least 18,979 cases of COVID-19, 1,854 recoveries and 240 deaths.

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In his November 20 message, Fr. Labour encourages Mauritians to mobilize their forces and those of the charitable groups in parishes to “accompany our brothers and sisters in distress.”

“Despite our sadness at not being able to gather more than 10 people in our places of worship, we have a duty to participate in the national effort to curb the pandemic,” the Vicar General of Port Louis Diocese says.

He urges the faithful to “follow the instructions that are given by the authorities as well as by the diocese regarding religious ceremonies and other activities in the churches.”

“This is a time for vigilance and caution,” Fr. Labour cautions, and appeals for prayers saying, “Let us lift up to the Lord our prayers for the bereaved families, for the doctors and health personnel who are being put to the test, for the people suffering from COVID-19 and for those who, by virtue of their responsibilities, have decisions to make.”

“Let us trust Him, for He knows how to bring out much good and generosity from a crisis situation,” the Mauritian Cleric further implores, and adds, “Let us rise to the challenges and be above all patriots. Only the love of our country should guide us in this situation.”

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