BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) — In the streets of Beirut’s southern suburbs, Hezbollah paramedics and volunteers on trucks and on foot sprayed disinfectants on shops and buildings. At a hospital where it once treated its wounded fighters, the group’s medical staff set up beds for a center to deal with coronavirus patients. Hezbollah says it is turning the organizational might it once deployed to fight Israel or in the civil war in neighboring Syria to battle the spread of the virus pandemic in Lebanon. It wants to send a clear message to its supporters in Lebanon’s Shiite community that it is a force to rely on in a crisis. The Iranian-backed terror group and political powerhouse is under pressure to send that message after a series of blows to its prestige.

 

The Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has hit out at the Government for its decision to allow women to have abortions at home. Despite Health Secretary Matt Hancock telling Parliament last week that there were no plans to change the law, the Department of Health and Social Care later released a statement which said home abortions would be permitted up to ten weeks following a telephone conversation or e-consultation with a doctor. The measure will remain in place for up to two years, or until the COVID-19 crisis has ended. John Sherrington said he and other Roman Catholic Bishops were “shocked” to hear that telemedicine and early DIY abortion at home will be allowed “without any medical supervision present”. He added: “These measures fundamentally change access to abortion in England and Wales for the foreseeable future. “Whilst these are emergency times, these measures further endanger women who, for example, are rushed into decisions by abusive partners and act without any proper consultation.

 

A Northern Irish pastor, who was treated in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) after testing positive for coronavirus, has told Premier how God helped him through his ordeal. Mark McClurg from Aards Elim Church, fell ill last week and was admitted to hospital after suffering breathing difficulties. With his family not being able to see him, he says he encountered God in a way he never had before. "In the middle of ICU, while they're putting the ventilator on and working with me for three to four hours, something powerful happened," he said. "I prayed, 'Lord, help me'. I'd never heard the audible voice of Jesus - but he spoke to me that night and said, 'son, you are more than a conqueror'.  "I didn't realise that night that more than a conqueror meant there was more than one battle. That night was so hard. It was so hard to breathe. I was so weak. I had no energy left to breathe. I just knew, even though every battle is going to be hard, even though I was going to the brink of death, I was going to live, but it was going to be a battle." Pastor Mark says his battle intensified after this experience but again he saw God draw close to him. "The nurses were saying, 'Mark, breathe, breathe deeply'. They'd told Claire (his wife) that it was bad news and so all I could do from my sick bed was say 'Lord help me'. My right hand was down the side of my body. I felt the Lord come into that room, and he held my hand. I have never had experiences like this before but I was brought back from the depths of death. Jesus never left me nor forsake me."