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The Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha (GHDS) has called on all who wish to worship in mandirs to present proof of vaccination even as it registered its concern about the “rapidly escalating” COVID-19 cases and deaths in the country.
In a statement on Wednesday, the GHDS stated that it supports the Government’s vaccination drive and, as the world battles the virus, it wants to ensure that all Guyanese remain safe and protected.
“The Dharmic Sabha is cognizant of the need to ensure the utmost safety of devotees who are worshipping in mandirs across the country. We urge the members of the Hindu community to adhere to the Covid-19 guidelines of masking and social distancing but, more importantly, to get vaccinated. To ensure safe worship in the mandirs, we ask that persons present proof of vaccination/ vaccine cards before entry to Satsanghs and services and to wear masks at all times,” the Dharmic Sabha statement. No mention was made about the option to provide negative PCR tests.
It added that the only safe alternative would be to hold virtual satsanghs to cater for all devotees safely. The Dharmic Sabha also pointed out that important observances such as Navratri and Diwali which attract large gatherings are forthcoming. However, it cautioned that while the intention will be to observe these sacred days to the optimum and safely, it is necessary for the maximum number of persons to take the vaccines.
The GHDS stated: “More persons are in hospital, including ICU, than ever before, placing immense strain on health systems. We note, also, the high number of unvaccinated persons who have died or suffered from severe complications due to infection with COVID-19. The easy transmissibility and deadly nature of the new mutations warrant extra precautions and understanding of the critical importance of being vaccinated. While vaccinations are not compulsory and remain a choice, they are the most important medical interventions that can save lives and prevent complications from COVID-19. We urge all to get vaccinated.”
On September 4, 2021, the Government issued an update to the COVID-19 Emergency Measures that to enter a public building – meaning a building to which the public has lawful access – persons in Guyana will now need to be vaccinated or enter by appointment with a negative PCR test.
Since then, a few religions have relayed to their membership the gazetted requirements and have asked them to operate in keeping when attending places of worship. They include leading bodies such as the Central Islamic Organization Of Guyana (CIOG), Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha (GHDS) and some Christian denominations.
However, most Christian denominations have not placed the mandate on their members to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test to enter a church building.