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Coronavirus: Joho cautions leaders on religious gatherings, calls for total shut down

By Killiad Msafiri | March 23rd 2020

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho has shared his sentiments on what needs to be done to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Speaking at a conference in Mombasa, the governor proposed a total shut down to manage the pandemic. "Why did Wuhan beat the virus?" He said, pointing that they had recorded zero cases of new infections the previous day.

"These are painful decisions, but we need to take them, they will cost us but so be it," the outspoken politician said.

Governor Joho also urged people to scale down their day to day activities to reduce the spread of the highly contagious disease. The World Health Organization says that the virus "spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes."

The Orange Democratic Party (ODM) leader specifically touched on restricting gatherings in places of worship, a matter that has elicited mixed reactions among the various religious faithful. Malaysia, which has the highest number of coronavirus cases in Southeast Asia, had most of its cases linked to a mass religious gathering.

Pointing to this reference, the governor pleaded with Muslim religious leaders to be restrained from calling prayers in mosques. "Maybe one of us has Corona, and we could pass it off to a larger gathering," he said.

On Sunday, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe issued a government directive that suspended all church and mosque gatherings until further notice. He warned that the next two weeks would be critical in determining the spread of the virus.

Analysis of trends has shown that multiple new infections are recorded in the second and third week after the first confirmation of the Coronavirus case in a country. "I don't want to be in a position where I am asked questions in the future," said the former Kisauni MP.

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He urged leaders to stand firm and take responsibility even if their decisions are unpopular. "I know it is a painful decision," he said. "Mawazo yangu mimi ni tuswali nyumbani," meaning "let's pray at home."

Governor Joho specifically pleaded with Muslims to suspend corporate prayers for at least 14 days "if we love each other," to monitor the situation of the pandemic. "Tutazikana wengi," the leader said of the failure to heed to his plea, warning of possible deaths that would come from the spread of the virus

Covid 19 Time Series


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