Bissau (Agenzia Fides) - Last week the government of Guinea Bissau authorized the reopening of churches, mosques, places of worship and traditional rites, subject to compliance with a series of measures, including the mandatory and permanent use of masks, washing hands and disinfection of places. Several mosques have reopened their doors and received the faithful for traditional prayer. Evangelical and other confessional churches have also resumed their religious activities, but the doors of Catholic churches have remained closed.
The Bishops of the two dioceses, Bissau and Bafatá, published a statement on July 16 stating that it was desirable to resume the normalcy of religious activities. However, taking into account, on the one hand, the increase in the number of infected people, with the spread of the infection in all regions of the Country and, on the other, the need for a better preparation of the communities, they have decided to postpone the reopening of Catholic churches.
The Bishops express their gratitude to those who are engaged in the fight against coronavirus in the Country: "In this hour of pain for all humanity, we thank all the people involved in the fight against the coronavirus; let us remain united in prayer so that the Lord of life can preserve us from this disease and heal the sick. At the same time, we invite our communities to follow the decisions of the health authorities and the realities involved in defending the health of our people".
The Bishops concluded by asking "Our Lady, Patroness of our Dioceses, to come to our aid, giving strength to all the sick and those who are struggling to put an end to this scourge. May the Lord welcome our dead to his glory".
Guinea-Bissau has recorded 1,842 Covid-19 cases so far with 26 deaths. Over 80% of the Guinean population depends directly or indirectly on the marketing of cashews, which accounts for 11% of state revenues and 90% of the Country's total exports. The coronavirus pandemic has profoundly affected the cashew market world with heavy economic and social consequences for the African Country. (A.B.-L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 18/7/2020)