Caution urged during time of religious observances

As religious gatherings are expected to continue during the months of April and May, a new campaign has been launched to remind worshippers to practise Covid-19 safety precautions  to stop them from becoming super-spreader events.

This comes on the back of a busy Easter period for Christians and the Jewish Passover.

Siyabuya, which means “we will come back”, was launched at the end of March by human rights activist and lawyer Melene Rossouw, who was listed as one of the 100 most influential young Africans by the Africa Youth Awards in 2017.

April and May include major religious observances for the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths, combined with a holiday period.

“That means gatherings, family events and additional travel, all of which can spread the virus and give rise to a deadly third wave of infections across the country,” Rossouw said.

“If the third wave of infections is seeded in the coming few weeks, we will again have a bleak winter where poorer households are forced indoors with no option of physical distancing.”

She said it was vital that people wear masks, ensure physical distancing, sanitise and wash hands frequently. Travel should also be limited where possible, and while religious events were important, participants needed to be aware of the risks of small and large gatherings.

Rossouw said Siyabuya aimed to get South Africans working together to help the country come back stronger from the coronavirus pandemic.  “This means individuals taking care of themselves, their families and their communities by adopting public hygiene habits, feeding people who need food and creating jobs by letting every business flourish. When vaccines become available, please ensure that you and your family are immunised.”

This article first appeared in Herald Live on 6 April 2021

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