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As the number of Covid-19 infections continues to climb across South Sudan, the Archbishop of the Catholic Diocese of Juba is encouraging the public to stay safe and take precautionary measures to help stop the spread of the virus.

“My message to all South Sudanese is that Covid-19 is real, it exists and it kills. So people should not ignore it. As a church leader, I want everybody to take this message very seriously,” Archbishop Stephen Ameyu said. “That’s why we decided to close our churches and told everyone to stay home and pray in their houses. The disease spreads faster when people gather in churches, clubs or public places.”

The Archbishop’s appeal comes as the latest figures show that Covid-19 cases in South Sudan have climbed to 8,766, with 102 deaths.

On Wednesday, the South Sudan National Taskforce on Covid-19 extended the national partial lockdown for one more month, listing punitive measures including fines against violators. The task force said the extension runs through April 3, 2021.

South Sudan registered its first Covid-19 case on April 5, 2020.

The religious leader implored other churches to adhere to the set Covid-19 protocols and regulations to ensure the safety of congregants.

“We should keep social distance and wear face masks. This is very important for our health. There are some churches which are not members of the South Sudan Council of Churches and they continue conducting their prayers as if there is no Covid-19,” he said.

“Our priests are organizing prayers in their homes but without faithful. So there are no activities going on in our parishes currently because Covid-19 spreads faster when many people gather in one place,” he added.

Ameyu slammed officials for organizing football activities amid the rising cases of the Covid-19 pandemic, citing recent sports activities in the town of Torit in Eastern Equatoria State.

“I am currently in Torit and there was a football match played at Freedom Square and there were many people who attended the match. Our people don’t want to listen, especially the youth. I don’t know why? Covid-19 doesn’t know if you are young or old. They should follow the preventive measures,” he stressed. - Radio Tamazuj

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