The Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Pathein in Myanmar succumbed to COVID-19 on Thursday, July 22. He was 68.
Bishop John Hsane Hgyi of Pathein was reportedly suffering from diabetes when he contracted the coronavirus disease early this week.
“We all are saddened and shocked by the news of our father-like-bishop’s return to the eternal home,” said Father Florence Aung Kyaw Oo, chancellor of Pathein diocese.
Bishop Hsane Hgyi was one of the 247 fatalities of the pandemic in Myanmar on Thursday, based on data from the military-controlled health ministry.
As of Wednesday, Myanmar reported 6,093 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total confirmed cases to 246,663. The confirmed death toll was at 5,814.
Doctors and volunteer groups, however, said those numbers are under-reported.
Earlier in the week, Myanmar politician Nyan Win, a senior adviser to ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi, also died after becoming infected with COVID-19 in jail.
Nyan Win, 78, who had been held in Yangon’s Insein prison after being arrested when the army seized power on Feb. 1, was transferred to hospital last week.
Myanmar’s efforts to contain COVID-19 infections have been thrown into chaos by the turmoil since the military seized power from Suu Kyi’s elected government.
According to the military-controlled health ministry, only about 1.6 million people had been vaccinated out of a population of 54 million, state media reported.
The Global New Light of Myanmar reported about 750,000 Chinese vaccine doses would arrive on Thursday and more over following days, as the ministry predicted half of the population would be inoculated this year.
The United Nations said in a report on Monday it was stepping up efforts to combat an “alarming spike” in COVID-19 cases and expected Myanmar to receive enough vaccines via the COVAX facility this year for 20% of the population.
Bishop Hsane Hgyi was buried later in the day at two o’clock in the afternoon in Mayanchaung, Pathein.
The prelate was born on Dec. 15, 1953. He was ordained deacon on Dec. 3, 1981, at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Yangon, and became priest on March 7, 1982 at Zaung Dan parish of Pathein Diocese.
He was name bishop on March 22, 2003, and was installed as Bishop of Pathein on Aug. 24, 2003.
He was rector of the Institute of Philosophy in Pyin Oo Lwin, Mandalay Region, and a rector of the Institute of Theology in Yangon, Myanmar.
The Diocese of Pathein was established as a suffragan diocese of the Metropolitan Yangon in 1956. – with a report from Radio Veritas Asia