The Archdiocese of Kasama in Zambia has closed 3 Parishes as Priests, Staff Test Positive for COVID-19

Archbishop Ignatius Chama, local Ordinary of Kasama, in Zambia, directed the closure of three Parishes on Thursday, January 21, with immediate effect for two weeks due to COVID-19 infections. 

In a statement shared to Catholic media, ACI Africa, the Communication Secretary in the Archdiocese of Kasama Fr. Nicholas Kaliminwa said that Archbishop Chama’s decision to close the Parishes was because some Priests and Parish staff in the affected Parishes tested positive for COVID-19.

Affected Parishes include St. Margaret Mungwi Parish, St. Kizito Henry Kapata Parish, and St. Peter’s Luwingu Parish.

The Archbishop also directed that those who had interacted or visited the Clerics and Staff members infected with the coronavirus go for testing. He also urged the people of God under his pastoral care to continue observing the coronavirus health guidelines the authorities have given out. 

The closure of the Parishes in Kasama Archdiocese comes amid an upsurge in the reported cases of COVID-19 infections in Zambia.

The landlocked Southern African nation has recorded at least 43,333 cases of the coronavirus including 610 deaths and 32,667 recoveries.

On January 13, Bishop Moses Hamungole of the country’s Monze Diocese succumbed to the disease while receiving treatment at the Lusaka-based Levy Mwanawasa Hospital.

Fr. Charles Chilinda, SJ, a Jesuit, of the Society of Jesus in Southern Africa Province and Fr. Patrick Muyenga, a Capuchin Friar, also succumbed to COVID-19 while receiving treatment at Lusaka’s Maina Soko Military Hospital on January 21.

In a statement issued January 8, Catholic Bishops in the country expressed concern about the increase in the reported COVID-19 cases and called on the people of God in Zambia to exercise vigilance and observe precautionary measures previously issued by various authorities.

“There is an escalation in both the number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths,” the members of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) said.
In their collective statement signed by the Director for Health in ZCCB, Bishop Patrick Chisanga, the Bishops also called on every Zambian to “critically think about protecting yourselves and others.”

“It is the moral responsibility of everyone to ensure that Zambia does not plunge into the undesirable worst possible scenario,” ZCCB members said.

In a separate statement issued January 13, the leadership of the Zambia-based Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) expressed concerns about laxity in the implementation of the COVID-19 measures as cases of the virus increase in the country.

“When the first wave of COVID-19 hit Zambia in March 2020, we all scampered and took cover. Compliance to guidelines for fighting COVID-19 was at highest in the first three months. We soon developed familiarity with the virus as statistics played out in our favour with very few fatalities and very high numbers of recoveries,” said the Jesuit scholars.

The JCTR officials called on the country’s leadership to take the lead in enforcing COVID-19 preventive measures.

Photo credits: Aljazeera

Related Article: Jesuits in Zambia Decry Laxity in Implementing COVID-19 Measures as Reported Cases Rise