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World News

'It feels like we're at war': British pastor based in Spain responds to spike in coronavirus deaths

by Heather Preston

A pastor in Madrid has said it feels as though the country is "under siege" as the number of coronavirus-related deaths overtakes those of China.

Latest figures show the number of deaths in the European country have risen by more than 800 in a day, bringing the total to more than 7,300.

Positive test results for COVID-19 have also risen to more than 85,000 - putting Spain third after the US and Italy for the number of infections.

Kevin Bartlett, lead pastor at Iglesia de Cristo Salvador (Church of Christ the Saviour), Madrid told Premier he's shocked by the surge in numbers. 

"Just a few weeks ago, life was very normal. And now life is very abnormal, it feels a little bit like we're at war and under siege. And that's been quite shocking for everybody," he said.

Bartlett explains that his church has suffered personal losses as a number of people died due to the infection.

"We have had close members of family that have passed away sadly, and that's quite shocking. There's no funeral, no wake. Those mourning are often there at the time of passing, but then sent home with no one to be around them, no hug, no comfort."

Despite the struggles the church has faced, Bartlett says there is still plenty to be thankful to God for.

"We've got a number of members of our second congregation who are in hospital, one in palliative care, although with the church praying, he actually seems to be recovering.

"We are very encouraged and feel that God is powerfully at work in and through his church. It's reaching out to people, people are caring for neighbours, offering all sorts of support and particularly in prayer. We've got a prayer meeting every day of the week. 

"Even this morning, someone who is not a Christian is sending us prayer requests, and we're getting the people praying for them. God is behind the scenes working very powerfully," he said.

Bartlett has encouraged Christians to join him in praying for the Spanish nation, for its churches, for the government and for its economy to make a swift recovery following the outbreak.
 

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