31 Mar 2020

Pacific Conference of Churches urges social-distancing

8:28 am on 31 March 2020

The Pacific Conference of Churches is urging people to follow social-distancing and avoid congregations, saying faith alone is not enough to combat Covid-19.

The regional group has also told preachers not to claim the pandemic is a punishment from God or to vilify those who are infected.

There have been reports from around the region of church services being held despite lockdowns, and of preachers claiming the global pandemic was a punishment.

General secretary Reverend James Bhagwan said it's simplistic and reckless to claim religion and prayers are the only solution.

He said churches in the Pacific have a key role in binding communities while science deals with the virus in practical ways.

Mr Bhagwan said at least 60 priests have died from the coronavirus in Italy, many of whom chose to continue to provide services to congregations.