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Malaysian prelate calls for prayers amid growing number of COVID-19 cases

The archbishop of Kuala Lumpur issued a pastoral letter over the weekend urging the faithful to join in a “Holy Hour” on July 15 at nine o’clock in the evening to pray for “deliverance” from the pandemic.

In his pastoral letter, Archbishop Julian Leow Beng Kim expressed concern over the “higher number of daily new (COVID-19) cases and distressing death rates” due to the disease.

Malaysia reported a record number of new COVID-19 cases for a second consecutive day on July 10 with 9,353 new infections.

More than half of the new cases were from the Klang Valley area with 4,277 in Selangor and 1,398 in Kuala Lumpur.

Neighbouring states Negeri Sembilan and Pahang registered 638 and 247, respectively. There were also 835 cases in Melaka, 399 in Johor, and 352 in Sarawak.

The health ministry said last week that the increase in new cases in the Klang Valley was due to targeted COVID-19 screening at emergency movement control order areas and factories.

Malaysia entered its third nationwide lockdown on June 1, shortly after it breached the 9,000 mark for new cases for the first time on May 29.

“Beyond economic effects, the deep social, emotional, and psychological wellbeing of many is alarmingly compromised,” said Archbishop Leow.

The Catholic Church leader urged everyone in the country to put their political rivalries aside and come together as to combat the pandemic.

A government health worker searches for foreign migrant workers for COVID-19 screening testing in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on May 16, 2020. (Photo by Abdul Razak Latif/

“What is already agonizing on so many fronts is further compounded by the current political instability – when instead it should be a time to put political rivalries aside and come together as united Malaysians to combat this pandemic,” he noted.

He said “gruelling disruptions” have caused “tremendous fear and anxiety, tending to move people into a state of helplessness and hopelessness.”

“Against this very backdrop, what remains unchanged is that we are a people grounded in the faith that God is always with us — yes, even in this prolonged storm,” he added.

The prelate also noted that the growing number of individuals, Churches and organizations that are responding to the needs of the people “is indeed a sign that God is with us, and that humanity can and will prevail when faced with hardships and challenges.”

“With all the good that is happening on the ground, let us be mindful that persistent prayer will anchor us in the realization that we are not alone,” read Archbishop Leow’s pastoral letter.

Aside from the “Holy Hour” on Thursday, the prelate also urged the faithful “to make a conscious effort to pray the rosary” on Friday, July 16, Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

“Let us together invoke the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Divine Physician,” said the archbishop.

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