- Title: Africa's Christians take different approaches to worship over coronavirus fears
- Date: 22nd March 2020
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (English) REVEREND FATHER CHRIS ANYANWU, SAYING: ''No more kiss of peace, like you shake people with hand, no. So these are some of the measures that we have taken, but we are still watching, if the virus spreads, stricter measures will be given.'' WORSHIPPERS LEAVING NAIROBI, KENYA (MARCH 22, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PEOPLE APPLYING HAND SANITIZER AT CHURCH ENTRANCE SUNDAY MASS IN PROGRESS IN HOLY FAMILY BASILICA CATHOLIC CHURCH PASTOR PREACHING CONGREGATION LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (English) NAIROBI RESIDENT, VERONICA NDUNGE, SAYING: "All measures have been put in place, even the water and soap have been provided, sanitizers at the entrance. And so as we enter the church we believe that Christ Jesus is the one protecting us." PASTOR SPEAKING ABOUT CORONAVIRUS CONGREGATION LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (English) NAIROBI RESIDENT, VERONICA OJURO, SAYING: "It is a very, yes and we have to keep distance of one meter away from each person so as not to get infected. And it is a mass, we come to church, we maintain that distance for precautions of the coronavirus." ST. JOANES LEGIO MARIA AFRICAN MISSION CHURCH IN FORT JESUS KIBERA SLUM AREA VARIOUS OF SANITIZER PROVIDED AT ENTRANCE MASS SERVICE IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (English): FATHER IN CHARGE AT SAINT JOANES CHURCH, MARIKUS OTIENO, SPEAKING ABOUT CORONAVIRUS, (HIS SPEECH BEING TRANSLATED INTO SWAHILI BY FELLOW CLERGYMAN), SAYING: "So this is all about corona. We are hoping that prayer will get rid of it. And it will get finished." CANDLE BURNING IN FRONT OF PORTRAIT OF LEGIO MARIA OF AFRICAN CHURCH MISSION MAN ON FLOOR AS OTHERS PRAY MAN DOING SIGN OF CROSS VARIOUS OF MAN ON FLOOR AS HE IS BELIEVED TO HAVE GOD SPEAKING THROUGH HIM TO CONGREGATION ABOUT CORONAVIRUS MAN IN RELIGIOUS OUTFIT MAKING DOING SIGN OF CROSS (SOUNDBITE) (English) FATHER IN CHARGE AT SAINT JOANES CHURCH, MARIKUS OTIENO, SAYING: "So my advice to the government to give us only chance to pray. That is what Baba Messiah is saying. All this - when it happens, it happens. (SWITCHING TO SWAHILI) We pray for the country." VARIOUS OF PROCESSION IN CHURCH YARD
- Keywords: Africa Coronavirus Kenya Nigeria churches religion
- Reuters ID: LVA004C64V0HZ
- Location: LAGOS AND ABUJA, NIGERIA / NAIROBI, KENYA
- City: LAGOS AND ABUJA, NIGERIA / NAIROBI, KENYA
- Country: Various
- Duration: 00:03:09
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Story Text: Worshippers in Nigeria turned to the internet to connect with God on Sunday (March 22), while in Kenya hand sanitizer replaced holy water at Nairobi's Holy Family Basilica Catholic Church, but mass went on despite seven confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country.
In Lagos, Chika Paul-Oboh and her husband prayed from home using a webstream of a church service, but fellow Nigerian Christians in Abuja attended mass with reduced contact and warnings from the clergy that stricter measures may have to be put in place if the virus continues to spread.
Nairobi's Holy Family Basilica Catholic Church increased the number of masses on Sunday to accommodate all of those willing to pray. But according to Father David Kamumue the service was attended by about 300 people, instead of the usual congregation of 5,000.
A few miles away in the slum of Kibera, the clergy said they were hoping the coronavirus could be defeated by prayer.
Africa, with the highest number of Christians of any continent, reflects how churches around the world are struggling with coronavirus. Globally, authorities are vying to contain the spread of the disease by closing or limiting worship, disrupting Sunday services just before Easter.
Africa's battle with coronavirus could be won or lost in those churches, as the continent's confirmed cases rise to almost 1,200 with more than 30 deaths, according to the World Health Organization. That lesson was learned in South Korea, where more than half of its thousands of cases were tied to just one congregation.
(Production: Edwin Waita, Angela Ukomadu, Maria Vasilyeva, Seun Sanni and Abraham Achirga)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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