The church should not carry the burden of Covid-19 fatalities

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has abdicated his responsibility to unsuspecting Pastors for the likely infections of up to 50 persons at a go-to counter return to school and work.  

Many of my colleagues, pastors and bishops will likely not appreciate me for breaking rank at this stage and I must accept this in good conscience and moral conviction. 

Ramaphosa, in a calculated consideration of backlash for pressures outside of considering the faith, has just invited church pastors, to under strict conditions resume responsibility for their congregants.  

This means to me, that pastors will be responsible for the infections of up to 50 people at a time. Rather than appreciate this as a move to respect the role of Christianity in public life, we have the responsibility to see this is move as more likely to divert focus and culpability from one elected man, his advisers and cabinet to many others who are not infection specialists and are not resourced with public health supporting taxes to protect and help recover. 

Despite the touted spike stated in more skilled quarters, the president makes this apparent concession concealing culpability for many other weaknesses to hold forth. 

There is likely to be a large increase in infections and fatalities. The responsibility, in the end, is back those who gave concession, the state according to Section 7(2), not the church. I would not take that risk if I were a church pastor in light of impending infections and deaths that may come from elsewhere but infect others on my premises.

The church is not an infection control specialist, nor can the church do anything to protect the faithful from asymptomatic persons infected elsewhere. 

I propose that churches take a good hard look at trends in other sectors of society, by asking the following questions: 

What are the current infection rates and the risk of asymptomatic persons attending the church?
Can masks and pre/post-service disinfection prevent the infection of church workers and volunteers and the faithful?
Can Pastor’s families, church workers and the faithful afford to self isolate and monitor symptoms after every likely contact?  
Is the Pastor and church board ready to carry the burdens of infections at their premises? 

If not, I would advise a piloted approach and not the allowable approach. I mean rather than having 50 consider 10 of the most capable persons who can access private health and testing to come and observe for the 14-day window. Then gradually add others who may need public sector help.