Zimbabwean Bishop in COVID-19 Isolation Advocates for Strict Respect of Measures

Bishop Raymond Tapiwa Mupandasekwa of Zimbabwe’s Chinhoyi Diocese who is in isolation after he tested positive for COVID-19.
Credit: Courtesy Photo

The Bishop of Zimbabwe’s Chinhoyi Diocese who is in isolation after he tested positive for COVID-19 has urged the people of God in the Southern Africa nation to strictly adhere to the coronavirus safety guidelines.

“I write to inform you that I tested positive for COVID-19 on the 15th of January and immediately went into isolation. I am recovering but now have to live with a new challenge of diabetes,” Bishop Raymond Tapiwa Mupandasekwa says in his Wednesday, January 20 Facebook post.

Bishop Mupandasekwa shares about the impact of COVID-19 in Zimbabwean Dioceses saying, “Some of our Priests and Religious in our diocese have fallen victim to this virus as well. We have had deaths due to COVID-19 in the Diocese of Mutare, (Sr Auxillia), and the Archdiocese of Harare, (brother Kandawasvika SJ and Sr Mazorodze LCBL).”

The 50-year-old Bishop also expresses concern about more infections saying, “Perhaps in the days and months ahead more of us will become infected.” 

“I do urge you to wear your masks, sanitize and keep social distance,” Bishop Mupandasekwa says in his January 20 Facebook post and adds, “For those who will fall victim to the Coronavirus, do follow the regulations and immediately self-isolate.” 

He goes on to express his appreciation to the people of God in Zimbabwe for journeying with him in prayer saying, “I am grateful for your prayers, and the support of my brother Priests, and Religious.”

Bishop Mupandasekwa further says, “We have prepared Saint Albert’s Mission hospital as the referral hospital where we can get help in the time when we will need it. We have bought oxygen concentrators for those who due to the virus will struggle with breathing.”

The Local Ordinary of Chinhoyi Diocese continues, “We have asked Doctor Chitambo and the doctors at Saint Albert’s Mission hospital to assist in cases of need. We will continue to equip our hospitals as best as we can.”

“Our churches will remain closed until it is safe to reopen. Be assured of my prayers as you and your families face this pandemic,” the Zimbabwean Bishop says, and implores, “I wish you God’s protection and guidance in this difficult time.”

Zimbabwe has experienced a spike in what is considered the second wave of COVID-19 infections that has seen the country record 9,149 cases between December 29 and January 11. As of January 20, country had recorded at least 28,675 COVID-19 cases with 825 deaths and 18,110 recoveries.

On January 12, only seven nurses were left to cover shifts at St Albert’s Mission hospital after their 26 colleagues tested positive for COVID-19.

Dozens of staff members at the Catholic hospital have tested positive for the coronavirus, a situation that is “wreaking havoc” at the hospital, the leadership of the Diocese’s Social Communications announced.

On January 19, the Sister at the helm of the Handmaids of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Carmelites) in Zimbabwe expressed the need for psychosocial and moral support amid COVID-19 pandemic in the Southern African nation.

“We need to inculcate the spirit of tolerance and psychosocial support. Moral support is very critical in COVID-19 situations as it gives hope to push through the odious experience,” Sr. Madeline Chapisa said.

She added, “There is psychological destabilization and trauma as a result of COVID-19 and it is important to capacitate our members on how to deal with the situation when it strikes.”

Last year April, the President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), Phillip Cardinal Ouédraogo, tested positive for coronavirus recovered.

In August, the Bishop of Nigeria’s Yola Diocese also tested positive for COVID-19 and later recovered. 

The Archbishop of Kenya’s Nyeri Archdiocese who recovered from the disease expressed appreciation to the people of God in the East Africa country, thanking them for journeying with him in prayers as he battled the disease.


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ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.

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