Paul Samasumo – Vatican City & Hermínio José - Maputo, Mozambique
According to information made available to Vatican News, the decision of the Bishops comes as a result of the exponential increase in positive cases of COVID-19, in Mozambique. The country recently declared a State of Public Calamity, transitioning the country from a State of Emergency. In order not to take chances with the lives of seminarians and formation teams, the Bishops decided to make the drastic decision. The Bishops also said they took the decision after deep reflection and in consultation with the Rectors of the country’s major seminaries.
Dioceses encouraged to accompany seminarians
In an interview with Vatican News, in Maputo, Rector of the Theological Seminary -Pius X, Fr. Marcos Mubango, said the decision of the Bishops did not come lightly. Fr. Mubango underlined the fact that the health of seminarians and formation teams was more important than adherence to schedule.
Fr. Mubango further said that the Bishops have ordered that seminarians be accompanied in their respective dioceses. According to the Mozambican Bishops, the training of seminarians goes beyond the mere academic dimension.
From State of Emergency to a State of Public Calamity
As of 24 September, this week, Mozambique recorded 7,262 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 49 deaths. A total of 4,350 persons have recovered from the disease.
Recently, on 7 September, the Mozambican Government raised the country’s risk status to the Red alert level. The country thus moved from a State of Emergency (SOE) to a State of Public Calamity (SOPC).
During the SOPC, the country would continue with measures already in place during the State of Emergency. These measures include: Encouraging the frequent use of Face masks, regular handwashing, social distancing, hospitalisation, quarantine and isolation policies.
Public worship permitted at fifty per cent capacity
Bars, clubs, and informal Kiosks (stalls) which sell alcohol would remain closed. Sports activities would continue to be suspended while markets are allowed to operate but with limited and reduced hours of opening. Similarly, the Government is taking measures to limit the number of passengers in buses, vans, and other means of public transport.
Grade 12 secondary school examination classes are nevertheless scheduled to resume on 1 October. Other Classes would have to wait as authorities continued to monitor the situation. Private social events are permitted with up to 40 attendees.
Public worship is permitted only at fifty per cent capacity with up to a maximum of 150 attendees.