COUNCIL of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) general secretary Fr Emmanuel Chikoya says the council has closed its offices for 14 days due COVID-19 positive cases that have been recorded.

And Fr Chikoya has announced that he has tested positive for COVID-19 but remains asymptomatic.

In a statement, Sunday, Fr Chikoya said all council staff were expected to work virtually while those that had tested positive had been informed and requested to be in self-isolation for 14 days.

“The Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) wishes to inform its membership and the general public that its offices will be closed for 14 days effective Friday, 14th August 2020 due to some positive COVID-19 cases that have been recorded.In line with Ministry of Health and World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on COVID-19 preventive measures, all staff will work virtually from home while those that have tested positive have been informed and requested to be in self-isolation for 14 days,” Fr Chikoya said.

“After 14 days, another test will be done on all staff to ascertain their COVID-19 status before resuming work physically at secretariat offices. We therefore would like to assure the CCZ membership and the general public that there is no cause for alarm as all recorded positive cases are asymptomatic. Work will continue as scheduled as all staff are on duty virtually on every working day, except some field programmes that have been suspended until further notice.”

He stated it was important that citizens heighten precautions against COVID-19 due to the resurgence of COVID-19.

“In view of the above, the general CCZ membership and general public are requested to interact with the secretariat virtually on all matters concerning the work of CCZ using emails, phone calls, WhatsApp and any other available means of communication other than physically. Our offices will remain open virtually throughout this period after which another update will be given after 14 days on the way forward.We would like to reiterate our call to the general citizenry to always observe Ministry of Health guidelines on COVID-19 preventive measures such as masking up, ensuring at least one metre social distancing, washing hands with soap for at least 20 seconds, sanitizing hands in the absence of water and avoiding public gatherings unless it’s really necessary.Let’s us do all we can to be our neighbour’s keeper by ensuring that we do what is expected of us so as not to put our neighbour at risk of contracting the virus,” he said.

“This is a period that is disrupting lives, causing an unprecedented paradigm shift, and further exposing inequalities and vices in society all while amplifying our strength and bringing communities and nations together.This pandemic is confronting us with the question of whether our ways can adequately get us through this. With reports of a resurgence of COVID-19 and the loosening of movement restrictions, it is paramount that we heighten precaution and play our individual roles; that we quickly unlearn, learn and relearn on not just the medical front but on our social, religious and economic ways.”

And Fr Chikoya revealed that he had tested positive for COVID-19 but remained asymptomatic.

“At this juncture I would like to inform the public that I tested positive for COVID-19 and currently in self-isolation at home because I am asymptomatic. Consequently, my family members have been tested as a precaution. COVID-19 is real and a very dangerous disease that calls for concerted efforts by all of us. Please adhere to the guidelines, mask up, wash your hands, avoid unnecessary movements. All those in self-isolation must strictly remain in isolation for fourteen days and get tested again before resuming normal life. The ultimate solution is sustainable behaviour change and maintenance of high levels of hygiene which must become and remain our lifestyle,” said Fr Chikoya.