ACCRA, Ghana — Cape Coast Archbishop Charles Palmer-Buckle, recovering from the coronavirus after testing positive, has advised citizens of the West African country to make every effort to religiously observe the health protocols because the pandemic is real.

Sharing his experience from the Ga East Municipal Hospital in Accra, one of the centers dedicated for COVID-19 treatment, the archbishop said, “We can overcome it (pandemic) in unity of focus and purpose.” He asked Our Lady of Lourdes, whose feast is Feb. 11, World Day of the Sick, to pray for all those affected, especially front-line workers like doctors and nurses.

“COVID-19 is real, and let us be religious in our observation of the health protocols. God helps those who help themselves,” he said Feb. 6.

He encouraged Ghanaians to adopt what he calls the three P’s — “Prayer, Protocols and Prayer” — to control the spread of the virus and urged citizens to keep supporting health personnel and doctors with prayer.

“Let us continue praying, thanking God for the doctors, the nurses, the front-line workers and the great good job they are doing. They are really stretched out and stressed out, they need our prayerful support, love and concern for themselves and anything God can help them to do,” Palmer-Buckle said.

Rumors and misinformation about COVID-19 have spread in many African countries, causing BBC Africa to start a COVID-19 fact check to counter such claims. For instance, one story, dated last July, had the headline, “The fight to prove COVID is real in Nigeria.”

Meanwhile, a former secretary to Palmer-Buckle when he was prelate of Accra has described the COVID-19 pandemic as a crisis of faith, saying: “We continue to ask this question: Why should God allow (the) COVID-19 pandemic to continue to cause havoc to the whole world?”

In a Feb. 7 homily at the St. James Church in Accra, Father John Patrick Tindana said: “As I speak, there are people battling for their lives. As I speak, there are people suffering from the aftereffects of COVID-19. As I speak, thousands and thousands of people have died. Where is God in all this?”

“Whereas we cannot give adequate response to these questions, one thing we are sure of is that God is still present,” he said. “He is present in moments of tranquility as well as moments of commotion. He is on the land and in the sea. He is in heaven and on earth. In effect, God is everywhere.”