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Indonesia overtakes India as Asia's Covid-19 epicenter

Jakarta Archdiocese calls for 'spirituality of hope' as country records highest daily infection tally since pandemic began

Indonesia overtakes India as Asia's Covid-19 epicenter

A health worker vaccinates a student at a school in Medan, Indonesia, on July 14. Indonesia has now become Asia’s Covid-19 epicenter with a higher daily infection rate than India. (Photo: AFP)  

Jakarta Archdiocese has called on Catholics to build a "spirituality of hope" amid a worsening Covid-19 outbreak in Indonesia that has seen the Muslim-majority country overtake India as Asia’s pandemic epicenter.

Indonesia recorded 54,517 new Covid-19 cases on July 14, the highest daily tally since the outbreak began, outstripping India which saw its daily infections dip below 39,000 the same day. 

The high infection rate is being blamed on the highly contagious Delta variant that was first detected in India. 

In a video message to Catholic groups on July 15 in response to the grim news, Father Vincentius Adi Prasojo, the archdiocese’s secretary-general, said the pandemic situation should serve as a special opportunity for Catholics to engage in reflection and deepen a spirituality of hope by responding to a call for humanity.

“We, religious men, invite the faithful as well as society to build a spirituality of hope that can overcome a pervading air of pessimism that has taken hold,” he said.

“A spirituality of hope is based on a belief that God will always be with us.”

Let us leave behind all individual and group interests. Let us build a brotherhood of humanity by continuing to abide by health protocols

According to the priest, a spirituality of hope can encourage Catholics to be persistent in prayer and to participate in actions for humanity.

“Let us leave behind all individual and group interests. Let us build a brotherhood of humanity by continuing to abide by health protocols,” Father Prasojo said.

Eveline Winarko, coordinator of the Sant’Egidio Community in Indonesia, said hope is what many people need now.

“Solidarity is really needed. No one should be left behind,” she told UCA News.

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She said her organization has been helping its members who have tested positive for Covid-19 by providing them with meals while they self-isolate at home.

The Sant’Egidio Community is also distributing free meals to street people and scavengers in the capital once a week.

“For them, a box of rice is so meaningful,” Winarko said.

As of July 15, Indonesia had recorded a total of 2,726,803 Covid-19 cases and 70,192 deaths since the pandemic began.

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