COVID-19 Effects: Episcopal Conference Cancels June 3, Uganda Martyr’s Day Celebrations

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Thousands of faithful pilgrims attend mass to celebrate Uganda Martyrs Day at Namugongo. /File Photo
By :
Baluku Geoffrey

KAMPALA – The Uganda Episcopal Conference has cancelled this year’s Martyr’s Day celebrations that were due on June 3rd, citing coronavirus challenges.

In a letter dated April 29, the Rt. Rev. Joseph Antony Zziwa, Chairman of Uganda Episcopal Conference (UEC), an umbrella body of all Catholic Bishops in Uganda said that Masaka Diocese will not be in position to organise the 2020 Namugongo Marty’s Day Celebrations due to restrictions imposed by government to curb the spread of coronavirus.

“Rt. Rev. Serverus Jjumba, the Bishop of Masaka Diocese has officially informed me that his diocese will not be in position to organise the 2020 Namugongo Marty’s Day Celebrations,” Bishop Zziwa said.

He said that, the position of Masaka Diocese should be understood in light of the fact that organizing the celebrations at Namugongo requires frequent meetings involving several people including government security agencies.

With the virus still alive in many countries including Uganda, and mindful of the interim guidance that was also recently issued by the World Health Organization-WHO calling for cancelation of religious and social gatherings, -the decision of the episcopal conference was in order.

“Cancelling social and religious gatherings should be seriously considered. WHO, therefore, recommends that any decision to restrict, modify, postpone, cancel, or proceed with holding a mass gathering should be based on a standardized risk assessment exercise. These decisions should be part of a comprehensive approach taken by national authorities to respond to the outbreak,” says the WHO.

The WHO further states that authorities should ensure the population is given good reasons as to why such decisions have been taken.

In the view of the difficulties and uncertainty associated with the pre planning, the Rt. Rev. Jumba accepts to postpone the Uganda Martyrs day celebrations which were supposed to be held in May and June 2020.

He revealed that the episcopal conference will in the new future come up with another arrangement.

However, a number of people Africa Tembelea spoke to, asked why the event could not be held using a number of virtual platforms such as television, radio, digital, and social media.

Basilica of the Uganda Martyrs, Namugongo

– COVID-19 –

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

The transmission of COVID-19 is facilitated by close contact between people, as the virus is spread through respiratory droplets and contact with contaminated surfaces. To mitigate the public health impact, several countries have implemented physical distancing measures aimed at interrupting transmission by reducing interaction between people.

Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 include: Fever, running Nose (flu), cough, general Weakness and difficulty in breathing if the patient develops pneumonia.

At this time, there are no specific vaccines or treatments for COVID-19. However, there are many ongoing clinical trials evaluating potential treatments.

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