The wrong place to look for COVID: statement of the AUCCIRO regarding the charges by the Ministry of Health
As it was previously reported, at the end of July, at a conference call chaired by the President of Ukraine, Minister of Health Maxym Stepanov stated that the main reason for the increase in the instances of COVID-19 in the West of Ukraine, especially in villages, was the attendance of church worship. "Epidemiological investigations showed such results," the press service of the President reported. No specific figures were given, though.
In response, the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and religious organizations adopted a statement, the text of which is given below.
Statement of the AUCCIRO
regarding the charges by the Ministry of Health in the spread of COVID-19 in the Western regions of Ukraine
The All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations are urged to respond and publicly refute the following generalized charges of the Minister of Health of Ukraine Maxym Stepanov for allegedly spreading COVID-19 in the Western regions of Ukraine through the activities of religious communities.
From the beginning of quarantine in Ukraine, the Church and religious organizations, on the whole, take the necessary measures for the safe conduct of services, other religious events and their social activities. Many religious communities have organized online broadcasts of their services, and the admission of worshippers to churches and houses of worship takes place with a protective mask, following the distance recommended by the government and using antiseptic agents.
The All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations calls on the leadership of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine to stop the practice of generalized accusations against the entire religious community and focus on implementing more effective measures to reduce the risks of infection of our fellow citizens in places of the most active social contacts - in public transport, retail, banking and government institutions, entertainment venues and other places where people gather.
The AUCCIRO is open to a dialogue with the Ministry of Health to avoid generalized public accusations against the religious community in the future, and to eliminate risks through effective practical interaction. Religious leaders of different faiths assure that they continue to pray for overcoming the COVID-19 epidemic and for the health of medical professionals who are at the forefront of this fight. We are confident that only unity and joint effort of the Ukrainian society can help effectively face the challenge of the pandemic.