Elderly Chinese bishop recovers from coronavirus

Nanyang, China, Feb 18, 2020 / 04:23 pm (CNA).- Bishop Joseph Zhu Baoyu, Bishop Emeritus of Nanyang, has recovered from coronavirus. At age 98, he is among the oldest infected patients to have recovered.

Bishop Zhu was diagnosed with COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by coronavirus, Feb. 3. He was treated at a hospital in Nanyang, in China’s Henan province, and was said to be no longer infected Feb. 14.

In mainland China the fatality rate from coronavirus is 2.3%, though that figure jumps to nearly 15% for those 80 years or older.

In mainland China, the death toll of the coronavirus has reached 1,868, and more than 72,400 have been infected in the country.

Originating in Hubei province (which borders Henan), the new strain of coronavirus can cause fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. In some cases, it can lead to pneumonia, kidney failure, and severe acute respiratory syndrome.

Most of the reported cases of COVID-19 are in mainland China, but it has spread to 26 countries, with about 600 cases outside mainland China.

There have been five deaths outside mainland China, in Hong Kong, France, the Philippines, Japan, and Taiwan.

According to the Chinese health authority, 80.9% of coronavirus infections are mild, 13.8% are severe, and 4.7% are critical.

The Vatican has donated between 600,000 to 700,000 facemasks to help stop the spread of the virus.

Jinde Charities, a government-recognized Catholic group in China, has also provided $132 million worth of aid to support medical treatment.

“Given the continuing severity of the epidemic, the provision of medical supplies such as protective clothing and masks to designated hospitals remains a top priority,” the charity said Feb. 12.

“At present, the entire society, including the Chinese Catholic Church, is fighting the epidemic to save people,” it added.

Bishop Zhu was ordained a priest in 1957, and in 1995 was consecrated a bishop, having been appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Nanyang. He succeeded as ordinary in 2002, and retired in 2010 at the age of 89. He was succeeded by his coadjutor, Bishop Peter Jin Lugang.

Bishop Zhu was a bishop of the underground Church, and was long imprisoned and in re-education camps.

After his retirement he was recognized by the Chinese government, which continues to consider him the ordinary of the Diocese of Nanyang. The government did not recognize Bishop Jin’s consecration until 2019, and it considers him a coadjutor.

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