Minister of Territorial Administration (Minat), Paul Atanga Nji, recently ordered the closure of revivalist churches that are not complying with the coronavirus prevention measures.
In a note he sent to regional governors, on March 24, the official ordered the systematical closure of those churches whose pastors advocate facts that are contrary to the measures enacted by the government to curb the spread of Covid-19. The official’s decision was motivated by "the excesses" of some of these churches.
For instance, the Minat notes, some pastors order their followers not to wear nose masks, even though they are a requirement in public places. They even reject the treatment protocol validated by health authorities asking their followers to pray to get over it. Some claim that there is no coronavirus adding that even if there was a coronavirus pandemic, with prayer, followers would be protected from it while others give water presented as "holy water" as a treatment against the Covid-19.
Last year, some students were unable to take part in official examinations because their pastors asked them not to wear nose masks, which are required before accessing exam halls.
In August 2020, authorities closed ‘Tabernacle de la liberté ,’ a church located at Nsimeyong, Yaoundé III because the pastor was said to encourage followers not to comply with the measures issued by the government to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Later, followers broke the seals and restarted their daily mass.
According to Paul Atanga Nji, many of their followers died naively because they put their trust in the irresponsible preachings of their pastors, who usually have questionable morality. So, because of those dangerous preachings, he ordered those pastors to be brought to justice.
A few days ago, Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute encouraged residents to comply with barrier measures because of the resurgence of the epidemic. He asked churches to relaunch the use of hand-washing equipment as well as ask followers to wear nose masks and limit the number of worshippers to 50 during the masses.
As of March 19, 2021, the number of confirmed cases was 41,669, including 38,820 people recovered and 721 dead.