Pacific Conference of Churches says faith alone isn’t enough

The Pacific Conference of Churches is urging people to follow social-distancing and avoid congregations.

Faith alone will not be enough to combat Covid-19, the Conference says.

The Conference has told preachers not to claim the pandemic is a punishment from God. Nor may they vilify those who are infected.

Reports from around the Pacific region say church services were being held despite lockdowns. They also mention preachers claiming the global pandemic is a punishment.

General secretary of the Pacific Conference of Churches, Reverend James Bhagwan, stamps on simplistic and reckless claims that religion and prayers are the only solution.

Churches in the Pacific have a key role in binding communities while science deals with the virus in practical ways, Bhagwan says.

He also notes that at least 60 priests have died from COVID-19 in Italy. Many of those who died chose to continue to provide services to congregations, he says.

Six Pacific Island territories have confirmed cases of Covid-19.

To date Guam has recorded the only death, although is currently has 55 cases.

The Northern Marianas is the latest country to confirm cases. Papua New Guinea has had one foreigner infected, but that person has been taken to Australia.

In Fiji, which has five cases, a nationwide curfew from 10pm to 5am is in force. To ensure the curfew is kept, Fiji is establishing 101 police checkpoints. The Navy will ensure there is no travel between islands.

Lautoka, where four of the five cases have been, remains in lockdown.

Tonga is now locked down. There are church services in the island kingdom.

In New Zealand, health officials said 2.3 per cent of the 514 positive tests have been in Pasifika people. This accounts for about 12 cases.


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