Tombura (Agenzia Fides) - "The health authorities of our Country urge us to stop all activities, close institutions, places of worship and schools. As people of faith we are called to face the fear of this moment, for the crisis linked to the coronavirus epidemic, with courage and with a generous heart". This is how Mgr. Barani Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala, Bishop of the diocese of Tombura-Yambio, addressed the priests and faithful of the diocese. In South Sudan, no coronavirus pandemic cases have yet been reported but preventive measures are already in place. The Ministry of Health has announced the closure of all other airports in the Country, with the prohibition of international flights, the closure of borders. Only commercial buses, food trucks and fuel tanks will be admitted.
"The churches - the Bishop informs in a note sent to Agenzia Fides - will remain open as a sign of peace and hope, children and the elderly will have to stay at home, mass liturgical celebrations will be suspended, adults who want to enter the church to pray will have to wash their hands at the entrance and keep a distance of one meter from the others. "In the letter the Bishop invites everyone to strictly follow the indications and reports: "All local radio stations in the diocese will offer daily liturgical service".
Mgr. Hiiboro invites everyone to work closely with local government authorities to strengthen preventive measures against COVID-19 and to serve for the common good, giving priority to the most vulnerable of the diocese.
Although important, the measures adopted do not address the complex reality in the Country already battered by hunger, poverty and disease. The government should ensure that travel restrictions do not stop humanitarian aid. Humanitarian organizations, the Church points out, must continue to have unlimited access to needy populations. (CHS/AP) (Agenzia Fides, 26/3/2020)