CORONAVIRUS RULES STOKE TENSION IN GABON CHURCHES | AfriTV Online

Church leaders in Gabon are engaged in a fierce tussle with the government as it prepares to re-open places of worship after months of coronavirus-induced closure, with restrictions deemed far too severe for poor families.   Authorities have said that ...

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CORONAVIRUS RULES STOKE TENSION IN GABON CHURCHES

Published by: A. Odean
10/27/2020 09:20 AM

Church leaders in Gabon are engaged in a fierce tussle with the government as it prepares to re-open places of worship after months of coronavirus-induced closure, with restrictions deemed far too severe for poor families.

 

Authorities have said that churches and mosques can reopen on October 30 after being closed since March, provided they respect tough health protocols, including a requirement to produce a negative Covid-19 test result. The rite of communion remains banned.

 

"We find very difficult the measure calling on our faithful to present a negative COVID test, which now costs money and risks creating discrimination between the less well off and those who have greater means," several Christian organisations said in a joint statement.

 

The cost of tests for the virus varies considerably between 5,000 and 20,000 CFA francs (7.5 and 30.5 euros / $9 and $36), far too expensive for many poor Gabonese families. Defiant, the archbishop of Libreville, Jean-Patrick Iba-Ba, had called on the faithful to go to mass on Sunday ahead of the re-opening.

 

But security forces cordoned off Libreville's Saint Marie cathedral, and they were also deployed to prevent access to other churches in the Gabonese capital as part of measures to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

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