St John the Divine to be New York hospital
THE Episcopal Cathedral of St John the Divine, New York, is to become an emergency field hospital, in partnership with the charity Samaritan’s Purse, it was announced on Monday. The charity, run by the evangelist Franklin Graham, has already opened two emergency field hospitals in the United States and Italy (News, 3 April). It is hoped that the building, whose nave
will hold 400 hospital beds, will accept patients within ten days. It is unclear yet whether the cathedral will hold coronavirus patients. The crypt will be used as a “staging area” for medical personnel, the Dean, the Rt Revd Clifton Daniel III, told the New York Times. It is reported to be the first time that a cathedral has been used as a hospital. Some Episcopalian priests in the United States have also been asked to give the last rites over the phone to those dying of Covid-19, because hospitals have restricted access to patients.
Cardinal calls for Covid-19 apology from China
THE Roman Catholic Archbishop of Yangon, in Myanmar, Cadinal Charles Maung Bo, has said that the Chinese Communist Party should apologise for the Covid-19 outbreak. In an article for UCA (Union of Catholic Asian) News last week, he wrote: “The Chinese regime led by the all-powerful Xi Jinping and the CCP — not its people — owes us all an apology and compensation for the destruction it has caused. As a minimum, it should write off the debts of other countries to cover the cost of Covid-19.” He was appointed Myanmar’s first ever cardinal in 2015, and he hosted the Pope’s first visit to the country in 2017.
Cancel international debts, urge aid agencies
MORE than 100 civil-society organisations from across the world have called for debt payments from developing countries to be cancelled immediately, in response to the economic and health crises resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. On Sunday, a statement was sent to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the G20 countries requesting a range of measures to reduce debt burdens in 2020. The signatories included Cafod, Tearfund, and Oxfam. The IMF and the World Bank have said that repayments must continue, although they have called for debts to be suspended temporarily.