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South Africa: Interreligious Prayer Groups Show Solidarity Outside Cape Town Hospitals

Religious groups of all faiths and backgrounds have been assembling for joint prayers outside hospitals in Cape Town over the past week.

They gather to express a spiritual show of support for and solidarity with coronavirus patients and healthcare workers – as South Africa contends with the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Each session is limited to 15 people, with face masks and social distancing enforced. Unexpected arrivals are asked to remain in their cars.

Solidarity Prevails During the Pandemic
Shaykh Saleh Isaacs, the coordinator of the interfaith prayer group, explains that it is a cultural custom to visit family and friends when they are ill or bereaved. But as coronavirus-prevention sanitary measures interfere with the traditions, people are seeking other ways to show care for loved ones who are isolated and some even isolated and in plastic-wrapped hospital wards.

“Especially this hospital program and these prayers, we make sure we have another person with us. It just creates a better environment. Remember in South Africa Muslims are only two and a half percent so obviously, most of the patients will be Christian. So we need to have Christian, even a Hindu person who prays for them as well.”

Shaykh Saleh Isaacs shared that the prayer groups will soon extend to hospices and some nursing homes in the region.

National Figures
South Africa — whose case numbers once held the world’s fifth position, has recorded the African continent’s highest coronavirus tolls with over 1.3 million cases and 37,000 deaths confirmed to date.

The second wave of infection began in December and is fuelled by a new strain of COVID-19 — widely believed to be more infectious.

Written by PH

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