We know you will be thinking about how the Kazan mission college is coping with coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Well, the situation as of 30th March in Tatarstan is strikingly someway behind the UK – as there are only 14 confirmed coronavirus cases (9 of these are in the capital Kazan), and in stark contrast to western Europe, no recorded deaths. As for Russia as a whole, 1836 confirmed cases, and 9 deaths. Why does Russia have such a low numbers of recorded coronavirus cases to date? Afterall it shares a border with China in excess of 2600 miles (apparently this is the world’s sixth-longest international border – not quite sure why you really need to know that?) – but this land border was promptly shutdown in January, and soon after any visitors arriving from virus hot spots such as China & Iran were met with stringent medical screening! Interestingly, despite its long border with China most of Russia’s largest cities have less close ties with China than many in Western Europe.
On the otherhand not surprisingly some are suggesting that the official figures don’t anywhere near reflect the true picture, and there has been social media reports of a significant rise in pneumonia patients in Moscow and other regions. Most Russian medical professionals fear the number of cases will explode very soon.
The substantial drop in oil prices is likely amongst other things to take Russia into recession.
What about life in Kazan right now?
Mass events such as sports and concerts are banned, but churches are still allowed to meet. As it happens, schools are closed due to normal holidays. Life in many ways though has been carrying on fairly as normal, shops open and busy. Although, the Government asked people to stay at home from the 27 March to the 5th April.
** Update 30 March**
Moscow will enact an indefinite citywide quarantine starting Monday (30th March), Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said as the city’s number of coronavirus cases surpassed 1,000 over the weekend.
According to the decree, Moscow residents will only be allowed to leave their homes to seek emergency medical care, shop for food or medicine, go to work, walk pets or take out the garbage. The self-isolation order will apply to all residents regardless of age.
The Murmansk region has announced the same quarantine as Moscow, as has the western exclave of Kaliningrad starting tomorrow. Other regions are expected to follow.
After initial resistance, the Russian Orthodox Church head Patriarch Kirill has called on believers to avoid churches as the coronavirus is spreading across Russia.
[source: the Moscow Times]
College staff speak of there being a tangible ‘worry’ and fearful expectation amongst the general public of what is to come.
How can you best pray for the College and students?
- Educational institutions are moving over to distance learning online – pray for wisdom for the college principal and team as they make the necessary plans
- Pray for the students as they feel the distance from their families, friends and home churches back in different parts of Central Asia and are naturally anxious about their health and welfare, especially for those with relatives in regions where the quality of heathcare may be very limited and/or difficult to access
- If the decision is taken to send all the students home, costs would make it prohibitive for them to return this academic year, even if the coronavirus was under control earlier than expected. Please pray that the students will adapt well to online learning, and still be able to benefit from their studies
- Pray for the college staff team who will be heart broken to see the students have to leave early
- A lot of the evangelism and outreach is done during the summer months, for example with youth camps – despite this, please pray that the Holy Spirit will do a great work of conviction, bringing about repentance and faith amongst many in Tatarstan
- As we face the economic impact of coronavirus, please pray that the necessary funding will still be received to enable the continuation of the valuable work of the Eurasian Mission Bible College in training and equipping Central Asians for gospel ministry