Johannesburg (Agenzia Fides) - The convent of the Congregation of the Precious Blood Sisters in South Africa’s Catholic Diocese of Umtata has been turned into a COVID-19 quarantine facility after a fifth member of the congregation succumbed to the new coronavirus. "We can confirm the terrible news, indeed we lost another soul", said His Exc. Mgr. Sithembele Sipuka, Bishop of Umtata, on June 18, announcing the death of Sister Ambrose Shabalala, who was 80 years old.
The convent houses 40 nuns who have been tested: 17 members were found to be COVID-19 positive.
The Department of Health in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa has announced that the convent has been turned into a quarantine center.
"We have assessed the center and concluded that they have got adequate facility for quarantine and self-isolation, and education has been provided on how the quarantined and isolated should conduct themselves", said a spokesperson of local health authorities.
The convent's infection began with the infection of a nun who works as a nurse at St. Mary's hospital.
In its message of condolences and solidarity, members of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) expressed "deep sadness and sincere sympathy to the Provincial and Sisters of the Precious Blood Congregation on the sudden passing of four of your dedicated sisters in this very short period of time". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 19/6/2020)