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Dear Prayer Partners,
We thank the Lord that South Africa is finally coming out of its COVID-19 third wave. Daily cases have been coming down to an average around 3,000 from daily highs of over 10,000. In these three months, the Delta variant has been the main virus which is more contagious and widespread. Its impact is obvious. The total cases in South Africa for the first 15 months of the pandemic was about 1,637,000, but these last three months had pushed the number to 2,892,000 (an increase of 1,255,000 cases, or 43%). For the same periods, South Africa recorded another 30,374 (or a 35% increase) COVID-related deaths. The Delta variant is indeed devastating!
Due to the low vaccination rate of less than 20%, the end of the third wave does not give South Africa any relief from its challenges. First of all is the upcoming general election on November 1st. All different campaign activities can become super-spreader events. In addition, there are about 8 million HIV-positive patients in South Africa. They not only have a weaker immune system but also are hotbeds for new COVID variants. The only way out is full vaccination.
However, misinformation on face masks and vaccines have been causing hesitation among South Africans. The government has been trying different ways to encourage people to get inoculated. If it can reach 50% to 75% of the total population, the country’s economy can be greatly improved. Nevertheless, to be able to achieve 50% by the end of the year (18,000,000 more people), South Africa needs to vaccinate about 250,000 persons each day; that is quite a long way from the current rate.
Through WeChat audio communications, we continue to hold three worship services and three weekday Bible studies every week. We thank the Lord that attendance has been very steady, and brothers and sisters in different cities of South Africa as well as those in China are able to both participate in real time and review later as they wish.
With the temporary easing of the pandemic and the lockdown downgrading in South Africa, the economy is slowing picking up pace. Beginning November 1st, the United States will also accept foreign travelers (including South Africa) who are fully vaccinated. We are planning to return to South Africa on early October. Please pray for our safe travel.
Thanksgiving and Prayer Requests:
- Please pray for effective measures during South Africa’s election period.
- Please pray for wisdom for government officials in implementing extra measures for HIV-positive patients.
- Please continue to pray for smooth administration of vaccines and at a quicker pace.
- We thank the Lord for the smooth running of the various Bible studies and worship services as brothers and sisters are encouraging one another with one heart and in love.
In His service,
Ko-Ta & Christina