Community centres, places of worship respond to coronavirus measures

Community centres, places of worship respond to coronavirus measures

A Durban facility that looks after the homeless says it will be difficult for the people they care for to follow some of the precautions to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

Laila Majiet

The Denis Hurley Centre feeds over 1 000 homeless people each week and offers them showers and clean clothes. 

They also run a free clinic - for those affected with HIV/AIDS and drug-resistant TB. 

On Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced measures to be taken to help curb COVID-19 infections in the country. This includes social distancing and general hygiene. 

READ: Coronavirus: MSC cancels Durban trips

The director, Raymond Perrier says this is impossible for those living on the streets.

"All of the things that we are being told to do, like washing our hands and distancing ourselves from other people and eating nutritious food and so on, is very hard for them to do. So we are really concerned. 

"We want to make sure that we continue to provide services to homeless people and to refugees and to drug users in central Durban so that they don't become even sick more than they already are."

Ramaphosa announced that gatherings more than a hundred people would be prohibited.

Perrier says they feed about 200 people a day - but that the centre has already put a plan in place.

"We work in such a way of feeding people which avoid having gatherings of more than 100 people at one time, but also make sure that one is fed properly and if you've got good hygiene and that always gives people an opportunity to educate people about keeping themselves clean and avoiding the infection."

He says he hopes that during this pandemic - the most vulnerable groups are not forgotten by the public.

"We are very hopeful that this group will not be forgotten by the municipality and also not forgotten by members of the general public, because our feeding relies on volunteers and donors. We hope they continue to be generous as they have always been. The more we work together, the better it will be for all of us."

ALSO READ: KZN Health warns against mass gatherings

Places of worship are considering their options in the wake of the banning of gatherings of more than a hundred people. 

The Council of Muslim Theologians KZN says the latest safety measures will interrupt how mosques function. 

Jamiatul Ulama's asked its branches to introduce routines that promote good hygiene at places of prayer - where they gather five times a day.  

Moulana Abdullah Khan says worshippers who are sick, need to pray at home. 

Listen below: 

Meanwhile, the Methodist Church of Southern Africa has cancelled all combined Easter services.

It says no circuit gatherings will be held for Easter this year.

The bishops of the church, who cancelled their meeting this week and held a tele-conference instead, have also directed ministers to ensure that any given church service isn't attended by more than 100 people.

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