Coronavirus and faith: A dicey game of chess

5개월 전

Some few weeks ago, a rather disturbing video emerged on twitter of police brutalizing Christian worshippers in Zimbabwe. Despite the Zimbabwean government's order that there should not be any form of gathering in order to limit the spread of the trending CoViD-19, the Church had another plan and the result was the video that surfaced online.


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The federal government of Nigeria has banned religious gatherings (and in fact, every other forms of gathering) that exceed twenty 30 individuals. The initial figure was put at 50 but later reviewed downward to 20 when the government saw the rate at which the virus was extending its tentacles. Desperate times, they say, require desperate measures.

Despite the move, it did not come as surprise to see that some religious establishments refused to pay heed to the warning of the government. Several mosques still secretly conduct their "Jumah" service in obvious defiance to the directives of the government. Several churches also go about the normal "Sunday service". What has religion turned Africans into?

As an African myself, there is no doubt that Africans are firmly grounded in superstitious beliefs, be it religious or non-religious based. This attribute cuts across all spectrum of literacy from stark illiterates, semi illiterates to the most educated in the continent. It is not uncommon to see pregnant women who are due to give birth heading to church or traditional establishment instead of a well equipped medical hospital. During the Ebola virus outbreak, a large percentage of the Nigerian population woke up one particular day and decided to Bath with saltwater based on a message that circulated on WhatsApp overnight that salt kills the virus.

Officially, as at the time of writing this post, the current incidence of the CoViD-19 virus in Nigeria stands at close to 2,000 cases with close to 100 deaths. Out of this number, over 200+ victims have been managed to be discharged after successfully fighting the virus and eventually testing negative. Initially, About 95% of victims are those that recently traveled down from high incidence countries such as the United Kingdom and Italy; now, we have started seeing more community transmission. These are just official figures by the way and some members of the populace believe the actual figure could be a double or even a triple of the official figure.

In the coming weeks, it is highly likely that the incidence of the virus will increase significantly in Nigeria. Some of those that traveled down from high incidence countries have refused to observe the 14 days self-isolation advice and are instead, slotting seamlessly into the country and going about their normal day to day activities. As expected, a large percentage of them are those that will rather take to the advice of their pastors/imams than that of the world's health organization, federal medical health, or any other relevant professional bodies.

Here is a video of one of the state governors saying that the virus cannot enter his state because his state is mentioned in the bible. With this kind of statement and the actions of the populace, I see Nigeria and some other African countries going down the path of West Midlands and a more interesting case of patient 31 in South Korea.

I hope my predictions are wrong.

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