By Vatican News
Pope Francis has donated two ventilators to hospitals in the Latin American nation of Ecuador as the number of infections and deaths continues to soar due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Announcing the Pope's donation, the country's Catholic Bishops’ Conference revealed that Ecuador’s Ambassador to the Holy See, José Luis Álvarez Palacio, has informed the Apostolic Nunciature that the devices have already left the Vatican and will be delivered in the coming days.
According to the latest statistics provided by Ecuador’s Ministry of Health, the nation that counts a population of 17 million, has registered over 47,000 infections and nearly 4,000 deaths due to the new coronavirus.
Experts, however, indicate that the true number of fatalities is probably much higher.
Pope Francis's concrete gestures of closeness and concern
This donation to Ecuador is just one of many made by Pope Francis since the start of the pandemic.
Marking his feast day, Saint George, on 23 April, he gave two ventilators and boxes of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to hospitals in the Diocese of Lecce in southern Italy. On the same day, five respirators were sent, in his name, to the city of Suceava, in Romania, and another three to Madrid, adding to those he had gifted to Spanish health care structures in March.
On 18 April the Pope sent ten ventilators to medical centres in Syria and three to St Joseph's Hospital in Jerusalem, together with a supply of diagnostic kits for Gaza and the Hospital of the Holy Family in Bethlehem.
The Hospital of Bergamo, one of the Italian cities most affected by the pandemic, received a donation of 60 thousand Euros at the beginning of April. In mid-April medical equipment was donated to some old-age homes in the central Umbria region.
Pope Francis has also lent his support and contributed to the creation of an emergency fund established by the Pontifical Mission Societies aiming to assist those in need in mission countries. More recently on June 9, the Pope opened a fund called Jesus the Divine Worker, and make an initial donation of 1 million Euros.