Lima, Peru, Jul 9, 2020 / 02:51 pm (CNA).- The archbishop of Arequipa, Peru, thanked the doctors fighting the coronavirus pandemic, saying they offer hope to many.
“I am convinced that, along with the evils that this pandemic has brought us or made apparent, the good that a great many people constantly do has also come to light and is rarely given recognition,” said Archbishop Javier del Río Alba.
Speaking to ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish language news partner, the archbishop praised “the completely selfless dedication of the doctors and healthcare personnel, who put their own lives and that of their families at risk.”
Their sacrifice, he said, “has been exemplary and deserves our complete gratitude and commitment to pray for them, not only now but always.”
Del Río cited Pope Francis, who called these healthcare workers the “saints next door.” The archbishop added that they are not pursuing media recognition or power, but only seek to serve.
Peru’s Ministry of Health reported that as of July 8, there are 312,911 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country, with 11,133 deaths.
In Arequipa, there are 8,144 recorded cases of COVID-19 with 343 deaths. Peru holds fifth place in the total number of COVID-19 cases worldwide, according to the John Hopkins University of Medicine.
About 40% of households in Peru lack a refrigerator, necessitating frequent trips to the markets, a key source of spreading the infection. About 11% of poor households in the country live in overcrowded conditions. Around 70% of the people work in the informal economy, use public transportation, and work in conditions where social distancing is difficult, including crowded markets.
Peru was among many countries that implemented strict measures to help slow the spread of the pandemic. As some areas of the country continue to see these restrictions eased, regions such as Arequipa are facing targeted lockdowns in an effort to control the virus.
The healthcare system has been overwhelmed in different parts of the Peru. Doctors and healthcare personnel fighting the disease have faced shortages of equipment, such as protective gear and oxygen to treat the sick.
Del Río encouraged prayers for those on the front lines, especially medical workers risking their safety to keep others healthy.
“I have no doubt that God, our Father, will know how to reward them, as well as the police officers and many other people who have not stopped serving society during this hard time,” he said.