They are the first cases to be detected among Syrians living in Jordan-based refugee camps, the UN refugee agency in Jordan said on 8th September ‘It is a reminder that everyone has been affected by this epidemic, and solutions must be addressed through international solidarity and cooperation.’ At the time of writing the two affected refugees have been transferred from the Azraq camp to the Dead Sea Isolation Site. Testing plus isolation procedures are being implemented for all individuals who have been in contact with them. The Azraq camp is Jordan's second-largest with almost 37,000 refugees. Jordan hosts over 1.2 million Syrian refugees, including 650,000 registered with the UN. To date, the kingdom has reported 2,478 coronavirus cases and 17 related deaths.
Jesus Christ, awesome King of the Universe, is connecting His Body as never before and you are invited to World Prayer Together - a global online prayer experience of repentance, reconciliation, revival and reaching all with His Gospel. Ministry leaders representing 10 world regions will ‘stand in the gap’, identifying and confessing major corporate sins that characterize their regions as those from other regions empathize and pray for revival and mission breakthroughs for each of those regions. Participants will be led in worship and celebrate His forgiveness by taking communion together globally, and then, since this is also the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah), we will blow shofars or other indigenous instruments all around the world at the same time! Details to connect to the call www.worldprayertogether.com. Please pass this invitation on to others in your networks, churches and prayer groups, so they can also join in this magnificent flowing together of His people.
A fire has destroyed Greece's Moria migrant camp on Lesbos. 13,000 are sleeping rough in fields, car parks and roads. Authorities have sent three ships to temporarily shelter 2,000 and are working to provide emergency accommodation near the destroyed camp. Germany called the blaze a ‘humanitarian disaster.’ Some locals attacked and prevented fleeing migrants from passing through their village. The UNHCR said it was aware of ‘tensions’ between nearby townsfolk and the migrants. Pray for those working to arrange shelter for 13,000 refugees. 70% are Afghani with 30% from 70 different countries. Authorities placed Moria under quarantine last week after a Somali migrant tested positive for the coronavirus. There are now 35 confirmed cases.
Leonid Mikhovich from the Baptist Union in Belarus said recent events have divided the church, ‘The situation has created a lot of tension in society as well as among Christians and churches. There are several dividing lines between churches so we have a lot of discussions and tensions. The Church in Belarus has historically been separate from politics. During the Soviet Union, the Church was an enemy of the state, and most churches still feel this way today. Consequently, only the Catholic Church has publicly sympathised with the anti-government movement while others have focused on prayer and street evangelism’. Mikhovich has asked Christians around the world, ‘Pray for churches. We need unity in this time, to work together, especially evangelical churches. Pray for our society, to keep us from hate, revenge and bitterness.’
On 7th September Maria Kolesnikova, a Belarus opposition leader was forced into a van by masked men. She was next seen on 9th September at the Ukraine border where she prevented officials from forcibly expelling her by tearing up her passport and throwing it out of the car window. She is one of three women who joined forces to challenge Lukashenko in August’s election. The other two, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who won 60-70% of votes and Olga Kovalkova, both fled the country. Thousands have been protesting since the disputed vote even though President Lukashenko insisted he will not step down from power. He calls Vladimir Putin ‘big brother’ and is increasingly dependent on Russia for support. In an interview he said that Moscow needs him too, saying, ‘if Belarus breaks, Russia will be next.’ Lukashenko seemed to be saying to Moscow, back me up and Russians won't get any ideas about ousting a long-standing leader through popular protests. Mr Lukashenko will meet Vladimir Putin on 14th September.
AstraZeneca and Oxford University’s final clinical trials for a coronavirus vaccine were put on hold after a participant had a suspected adverse reaction. AstraZeneca described it as a ‘routine’ pause in the case of ‘an unexplained illness’. The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine is seen as a strong contender among dozens being developed globally. Hopes have been high that the vaccine might be one of the first to come on the market, following successful phase 1 and 2 testing. Phase 3 vaccine trials often involve thousands of participants and can last several years. Although the cause of the illness has not been confirmed, the New York Times reported the volunteer was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, an inflammatory syndrome that affects the spinal cord and can be caused by viral infections.
The proposed Internal Market Bill was published on 9th September. It addresses the Northern Ireland Protocol - an element of the withdrawal agreement designed to prevent a hard border returning to the island of Ireland. The bill proposes no new checks on goods moving from Northern Ireland to Great Britain. It gives UK ministers powers to modify or ‘disapply’ rules relating to the movement of goods that will come into force from 1st January if the UK and EU are unable to strike a trade deal. Mr Johnson defended the bill, saying it would ‘ensure the integrity of the UK internal market’ and hand power to Scotland and Wales while protecting the Northern Ireland peace process. Critics say the move will damage the UK's international reputation after a minister admitted the plans break international law. The EU president is ‘very concerned’ following the tabling of the bill in Parliament, saying such actions ‘undermine trust’ between the EU and UK.
A leading epidemiologist warned the country is at a ‘critical moment’ in the pandemic, as students prepare to return to universities. Students moving across the country could cause a wave of infection. Data showed the highest number of detected infections was in younger people. Government scientific advisors said ‘significant outbreaks’ linked to universities were likely. Pray for University administrators and lecturers to have heavenly wisdom as they take steps to minimise risks on campuses. Current strategies include online teaching, grouping students together within year groups, putting in place local testing and tracing policies and no freshers’ week for 1st-year students. The University and College Union cannot see why the government insists students move around the country and engage in unnecessary face-to-face interactions. Also, online learning ‘would remove any need to open doors and windows in the winter months as the guidance suggests’. See also NOTE: The Students Union wants a balance between personal teaching and online teaching; not least because many have paid £ thousands for local accommodation!.