Pakistani bishops distribute kits amid Covid-19 crisis

Multan bishop calls on people to follow government advice, observe fasting and pray
Pakistani bishops distribute kits amid Covid-19 crisis

Bishop Benny Mario Travas of Multan hands a Covid-19 emergency kit to a Pauline nun at the Cathedral of the Holy Redeemer in Multan on March 23. (Photo courtesy of Caritas Pakistan)

Catholic bishops have initiated the distribution of Covid-19 emergency kits in Pakistan, where six people have died from the disease.

Bishop Benny Mario Travas of Multan distributed 45 kits to Cathedral of the Holy Redeemer parish staff, diocesan commissions and volunteers on March 23.

The kits, provided by Caritas Pakistan, included vitamin tablets, hand sanitizers, alcohol pads, soap, face masks, thermometers, tissue paper and awareness material.

Bishop Travas urged everyone to comply with government advice. “Consider your houses as holy quarantines, observe fasting and pray. Follow the policies from your concerned commissions,” he said.

Archbishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore and Father Mushtaq Piyara, the rector of Sacred Heart Cathedral, conducted a weekend training session on stitching clinical masks at the bishop’s house, where 32 female trainees were given 2,000 rupees (US$13) each to make masks at home.

The prelate condemned profiteering amid the pandemic. “Handmade masks will be supplied in 30 parishes [500 in each parish] among the poor irrespective of their religions,” he said.

Father Piyara said the archbishop also donated cassocks to be made into masks. “The nuns are sending us clothes as people face a shortage of protective gear. We have ordered an additional 15,000 masks,” he told UCA News.

Pakistan has been placed on lockdown until the first week of April as the number of Covid-19 cases jumped to 892.

The army has been called in to support the civil administration in its four provinces and Kashmir. The federal government last week suspended international flights coming into Pakistan until April 4.

Meanwhile, Caritas Pakistan has asked female and elderly staff to work at home.

“The rest of the staff are working on rotation on assignment-based tasks. Their movement is being limited in office premises where safety protocols are being observed. Field trips have been postponed for staff as well as more than 200 volunteers,” said executive director Amjad Gulzar.

“Our emergency response unit is holding consultation meeting and networking with government departments. Awareness banners are being displayed on church buildings and video messages are being shared on social media to dispel rumors. Diocesan teams are distributing awareness material based on World Health Organization guidelines.”

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