By Nobert Atukunda
The Orthodox Church has closed three of its parishes after some of the clergy there are said to have come in direct contact with their colleagues who are currently hospitalised with Covid-19.Rev Fr Nicholas Bayego, the dean of St Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral in Namungoona, said the parishes have been directed to close for 14 weeks by Metropolitan Jonah Lwanga, the head of the Orthodox Church in Uganda.“We have closed them. We are going for Christmas but we see there is likely to be many people who might be having covid-19. We didn’t know that some of the people have Covid, so we want to first close, do tests, those that have been already tested, we see their results,” Dr Bayego said yesterday in a telephone interview.The closed parishes include St Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral, Namungoona, St Sophia Orthodox Parish, Kibuye, and St Catherine Orthodox Parish Vuumba in Luweero District.Though the orthodox celebrate their Christmas on January 7, on December 25, they usually gather for prayers.Dr Bayego asked the Orthodox faithful to pray and celebrate Christmas from home rather than being at the risk of getting Covid-19.Some Orthodox clergy who tested positive are said to have got it after attending a meeting at the Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC) recently. Advertisement
“There are some priests who were in UJCC meeting, that’s where they got Covid from, that’s what some of them told us. Some came from Nairobi and one bishop tested positive, so we want to stop it from spreading to other people,” Dr Bayego said.This comes at a time when the dean of Central Region of the Metropolis, Rev Fr Ssekyewa Emmanuel, succumbed to Covid-19.Metropolitan Lwanga has urged the public to be so mindful of how they conduct their day to day activities during the festive season to avoid contracting Covid-19. Early this month, six senior Catholic priests in Masaka Diocese, including Bishop Serverus Jjumba, contracted the deadly disease. Bishop Jjumba was initially rushed to Masaka Regional Referral Hospital before being referred to Mulago.As of yesterday, Uganda had registered 32,399 coronavirus cases with 10,731 recoveries and 245 deaths.The Health ministry introduced home-based care in October to relieve the constrained health system. However, the large size of most Ugandan families which require more space for isolation, survival depends on daily earning and strong drive to socialise continue to hinder implementation of the Covid-19 treatment.Dr Jackson Amone, the commissioner of clinical services at the Health Ministry, said home-based care is specifically for Covid-19 patients who are asymptomatic or having mild sickness.