ANKARA (AA) - Ugandan authorities have detained a pastor who allegedly denied the presence of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Africa, local media reported on Tuesday.
Prosecutors charged prominent cleric, Augustine Yiga, over telling his Revival Christian Church in a televised comment on Friday that there is “no coronavirus in Uganda and Africa”.
“Pastor Yiga of the Revival Christian Church was charged and remanded to prison for doing acts likely to cause the spread of COVID-19,” South Africa-based The Times news website quoted Uganda police spokesman Patrick Onyango as saying.
“Claiming that Covid-19 doesn't exist in Africa and Uganda undermines government efforts in fighting the pandemic, and exposes the public to great danger of laxity in observing the guidelines on its control and prevention,” he added.
The pastor’s lawyer, meanwhile, said that Yiga denies the charges, based on which he could face up to seven years in jail, according to the website.
Yiga is known for having controversial religious views, and has reportedly claimed prophetic powers. He runs a church and a TV station.
Like other regions, even Africa is not immune to the virus. At least 33 positive cases have been diagnosed in Uganda alone, according to the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.
The virus that was first detected in China last December has spread to 178 countries and territories. Over 800,000 people have been infected while 39,000 have died.