The Catholic Church in India has offered 60,000 hospital beds and other facilities for the use of COVID-19 patients amid the continuing surge of infections in the country.
“The Church will continue to be at the forefront, offering our services,” said Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India.
In a statement, the prelate said the Church will open all its facilities “to the needs of the people.”
“Our schools will operate as isolation and quarantine centers; our institutions as vaccination centers; and our religious personnel all over the country will begin our campaign to encourage people to get vaccinated,” said the prelate.
Faced with a surged in the coronavirus pandemic, the cardinal said India’s Catholic Church is doing its best to help all those affected regardless of religion.
“We are also coordinating financial aid to buy more ventilators and increase our medical equipment to save the lives of our people,” said Cardinal Gracias.
The prelate said Pope Francis and various church leaders in the United States, Europe, and Asia have expressed their “solidarity and prayerful support.”
The cardinal noted that the Catholic Church in India has already lost two bishops, several priests and religious sisters to the disease.
“We must remember that our lives are of service; yet it is painful to see lives snuffed out so quickly,” he said.
“The virus has claimed many people we know, and has left many children orphaned who have lost both parents,” said the prelate.
India’s coronavirus crisis showed scant sign of easing on Tuesday, with a seven-day average of new cases at a record high and international health authorities warning the country’s variant of the virus poses a global concern.
On Tuesday, May 11, India’s daily coronavirus cases rose by 329,942, while deaths from the disease rose by 3,876, according to the Health ministry.
India’s total coronavirus infections are now at 22.99 million, while total fatalities rose to 249,992.
India leads the world in the daily average number of new deaths reported, accounting for one in every three deaths reported worldwide each day, according to a Reuters tally.
The seven-day average of new cases is at a record high of 390,995.
The World Health Organization said the coronavirus variant first identified in the country last year was being classified as a variant of global concern, with some preliminary studies showing that it spreads more easily.
India’s second wave has increased calls for a nationwide lockdown and prompted a growing number of states to impose tougher restrictions, impacting businesses and the wider economy. – with a report from Reuters