Covid crusade: Ramaphosa, interfaith leaders map way forward

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday said he had appealed to the country's religious leaders to join his government…

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday said he had appealed to the country’s religious leaders to join his government in fighting against the current surge of the coronavirus pandemic which is claiming lives much faster than the outbreak period last year.According to the president, in his interaction with interfaith leaders on Sunday, he urged them to help communicate facts around the Covid-19 pandemic.

 The religious gatherings have been blamed as part of the groupings responsible for the current virus surge, which is accompanied by a faster transmissible variant, that has seen the country’s Covid-19 death toll reach 33,163 in the past 24 hours. 

Ramaphosa, unknown to him, conducted his interaction with the religious leaders as the police were busy arresting two church leaders for contravening lockdown regulations. 

 “At a time of rapidly rising infections, and sadly many deaths, we gave an update on the rate of infections, hospital admissions, lives lost and the vaccine rollout strategy,” Ramaphosa tweeted on Monday.

He added: “We emphasised the need for clear communication of facts. All the faith leaders welcomed the consultation and expressed appreciation for the efforts by government, and the role of religious leaders to continue to mobilise communities to follow all the health protocols.”

Meanwhile, radio reports from Malawi on Monday said that 500 Malawians who arrived at the weekend escaping from South Africa’s Covid-19-induced economic hardship, staged violent protests at their detention centre outside Blantyre.

 The rioters were protesting their detention whose release was conditioned upon Covid-19 testing results, the Malawi police said, adding that the rioting had now ended and the protest leaders arrested.