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30June21-Corona Hotspot-Original

Dear prayer partners,

On Friday 25 June, the World Health Organisation (WHO) expressed their concern about the Delta variant of COVID-19. The Delta variant was first identified in India in April 2021 and is considered to be more contagious than other variants. However, whether it causes more severe disease has not yet been confirmed. The Delta variant has been identified in at least 85 countries and is spreading rapidly among unvaccinated populations. According to Worldometer, there are currently 181,871,502 active global cases of COVID-19, 3,939,215 deaths and 166,388,228 recoveries (as of Monday 28 June 2021, 8:46am).

Some of the most significant increases in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant have been recorded in Bangladesh, South Africa, Russia, Indonesia, Namibia, Brazil, and Australia.

In Bangladesh, authorities announced a new national lockdown over the variant from Monday 28 June, with offices closed for a week and only emergency-related trips allowed.

On Sunday 27 June, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa placed the country under adjusted alert level 4 and reimposed stricter restrictions for two weeks starting from Monday. He expressed concern over health facilities being stretched to the limit and ICU beds being in short supply due to the current surge in coronavirus cases, especially in Gauteng.

Russia’s capital, Moscow, recorded its worst daily COVID-19 death toll on Sunday, with 144 COVID-19-related fatalities reported. The surge comes as officials in Moscow are urging citizens to get inoculated after lifting most anti-virus restrictions late last year. Russia’s Euro 2020 host, Saint Petersburg, is also experiencing a notable increase in fatalities.

On Saturday 26 June, Indonesia recorded its highest daily tally of more than 21,000 new infections. The recent surge in cases in the capital, Jakarta, has forced hospitals to set up emergency tents to attend to those infected.

In Australia, a two-week lockdown was implemented last week Saturday in its largest city, Sydney, to try to curb the increase in cases, with people told to stay home except for essential trips.

On Friday 25 June, BBC Focus on Africa radio reported that Namibia’s Health Minister Kalumbi Shangula announced that their reserves of medical oxygen had been “exhausted” as the country experienced record numbers of daily infections and deaths.

Brazil counted a record number of new COVID-19 cases on Thursday 24 June, with 115,228 new infections in 24 hours and 2,392 new deaths. President Bolsonaro has been criticised for not implementing a national response, including lockdowns and mask-wearing requirements. Thousands of Brazilians joined anti-government protests on 19 June.

Galatians 6:2 (NIV) says: “Carry each other’s burdens…” Those who are not experiencing a surge of infections need to remember those who are suffering and facing tough challenges. The Body is intended to support each other and hold each other up through prayer and opportunities for involvement. 1 Thessalonians 1:5 (NIV) says, “Rejoice always.” Believers in the nations currently experiencing a surge in new cases should not be dismayed but rather focus on Christ as their source of joy, give thanks, be hopeful, and be bearers of good news and hope amidst the new waves.

Please join with us in praying for these ‘hotspot’ countries, and particularly for those in leadership as they try to make wise and informed decisions for their nations.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess 5:16-18)