A Catholic diocese in India found a novel way of helping families and relatives of COVID-19 patients who have to wait for news from their loved ones outside hospitals and health facilities.
The Archdiocese of Ranchi, the capital of eastern India’s Jharkhand state, has launched a free lunch service for relatives of patients hospitalized at the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences in the city.
“The Church will continue this service daily as long as it can as those attending the patients neither have the time nor resources to prepare a meal for themselves,” said Auxiliary Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas.
The initiative has been organized by members of the Ranchi Catholic Youth organization who prepare the packed lunch consisting of rice, lentils (dal), chicken, vegetables, and bottled water.
“Our Heavenly Father has been good to us and this goodness needs to be shared with the less fortunate, especially at this difficult moment,” Archbishop Felix Toppo said.
On Thursday, May 6, India reported a record 412,262 new COVID-19 cases and a record 3,980 daily death toll, as a second wave of infections swamps the health system and spreads from cities into the countryside.
COVID-19 infections in the world’s second most populous nation have surged past 21 million, with a death toll of 230,168, the country’s health ministry said.
With hospitals scrabbling for beds and oxygen in response to the surge in infections, the World Health Organization said in a weekly report that India accounted for nearly half the coronavirus cases reported worldwide last week and a quarter of the deaths.
Medical experts say India’s actual figures could be five to 10 times the official tallies.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been widely criticized for not acting sooner to suppress the second wave, after religious festivals and political rallies drew tens of thousands of people in recent weeks and became “super spreader” events.
The surge in infections has also coincided with a dramatic drop in vaccinations because of supply and delivery problems, despite India being a major vaccine producer. – with a report from Reuters