The main coronavirus hospital in Lebanon has been forced to close operating rooms and delay surgeries amid lengthy power cuts caused by a spiralling economic crisis. Dr Firass Abiad said Lebanon’s largest public healthcare facility was ‘barely making ends meet’ and running out of fuel to power generators for power cuts now lasting 15 hours. Despite soaring summer temperatures the hospital has turned off air-conditioning units in the administrative offices and in the corridors to ensure wards and intensive care units can be cooled, as they treat over 90% of the country’s two thousand confirmed coronavirus cases. He warned that if the crippling power cuts continue, the hospital would have just enough fuel to man the generators for three weeks. The crisis at the hospital is part of the fallout of an unprecedented financial crisis and deteriorating economic conditions in the country.
The coronavirus outbreak has reached every nation in Africa, a continent of 1.2 billion people. As of 7 July the confirmed death toll was 12,000, with fatalities including the former president of the Republic of the Congo and Somalia's former prime minister. With over 500,000 confirmed infections in Africa, experts warn that fragile healthcare systems in many countries could be overwhelmed in the face of a severe outbreak of Covid-19. African countries urgently need to scale up coronavirus testing and the use of face masks, a regional disease control body said, as the epidemic gains traction across the continent. New cases were up 24% in the past week. The pandemic is gaining full momentum: see
Since its independence in 1980, Zimbabwe has experienced low-intensity conflict marked by periods of escalation and political violence. Once an economic powerhouse, Zimbabwe suffers from a worsening currency and economic crisis, leading to a rise in protests with some turning violent. Peace Direct and its partner, Envision Zimbabwe Women’s Trust, work in Murewa and Hurungwe districts to address the deeply embedded culture of violence by training traditional local leaders and the national police force in non-violent conflict resolution. They prevent violence against women by providing gender training and supporting women who have been victims of sexual violence or domestic abuse. Their local peace committees defuse community tensions through an ‘early warning early response’ network monitoring flashpoints of violence, so they can be quickly identified and calmed. Nationally unresolved conflicts remain rooted in disputes over national power and economic hardship.
45 days before the first coronavirus case was announced, a global health security index was published, showing how prepared countries were to tackle a serious pandemic outbreak. The USA was ranked best out of 195 nations. Days before Trump’s inauguration, the Obama administration urged his team to get ready for a pandemic that could be the worst since 1918. Warning of possible ventilator shortages, it stressed the importance of a coordinated response. However, the Trump team, ignoring the advice, shut down the White House office devoted to pandemic preparedness set up by Obama. On 18 January health secretary Alex Azar, a practising Christian, warned Trump of potential danger from the virus, but Trump called him an ‘alarmist’, saying it was just one person coming in from China. See
Two weeks ago we joined with American intercessors to pray for a tsunami of prayer to gain momentum and bring positive change in the USA (1 Samuel 2:1). This week we praise God for Holy Spirit changes taking place. For an encouraging video, go to. On it you will see a number of Christian groups holding revival services at the site where George Floyd died in Minneapolis. They are seeing many people turn to God, and miracles are happening in a revival that is reportedly spreading to other USA cities. Could this be an early indication of the promised Great Awakening that we are praying for?
Imagine being handed a key to an ancient church that is immersed in history and having the place to yourself for a whole weekend! This experience is now open to church campers or ‘champers’. Champing is a new trend in ‘spiritual tourism’ throughout the UK, where travellers have sleepovers in archaic buildings. First launched by the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT), which looks after over 300 redundant churches nationwide, it aims to offer a totally different visitor experience and also raise money to support the conservation of old places of worship. Champing churches are living time-capsules, with centuries of history to explore. Rugs are laid on stone floors and visitors sleep on mattresses. Portable lavatories and washbasins are available.
Five-year-old disabled Tony Hudgell finished his fundraising challenge on 30 June and raised over £1 million for the hospital that saved his life. He challenged himself to walk every day of June on his prosthetic legs with the aid of two walking sticks, to raise money for the NHS. He made such strides with his walking that he exceeded his distance target of ten kilometres. Tony was an abused baby whose legs were seriously damaged before he was taken into care. His adoptive parents took him to Evelina London Children’s Hospital, resulting in his having both of his legs amputated in 2017. His mother said, ‘We are proud of him for doing so well with his walking, while helping to make a difference to the lives of other children who need the care of Evelina London.’
There are many vital areas still needing prayer. The virus, the economic challenges, and fear do not take a holiday. Likewise the church, the 'house of prayer', cannot afford to ease up at this crucial time. We need to devote ourselves to pray with perseverance until we receive the answers and achieve the breakthroughs so desperately needed in all these areas. There has been an unprecedented outpouring of prayer in this nation and throughout the world. We cannot afford to slow down now. Please pray that the virus will be halted in its tracks and sent into reverse - 'thus far and no further' (Job 38:11); for our Government as it continues to grapple with huge decisions; for our health and social care services to cope well with the impact of the virus; and for the safety of police and all frontline emergency services, maintaining order and security.